WASHINGTON - Legislation to overhaul the government's relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not going to pass this year, but its dogged sponsor insists Congress must at least beef up the tiny agency charged with supervising the secondary mortgage market giants.

Consider this: If Fannie and Freddie were national banks, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency would charge an annual fee of $71 million to cover the cost of their oversight. Yet the fiscal-year 2000 budget of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is just $19.5 million. OFHEO, pronounced o-FAY-o, has 95 employees to keep tabs on the government-sponsored enterprises' $1.1 trillion of assets. The Comptroller's Office has 2,842 employees to supervise the $3.3 trillion of national bank assets.

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