WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt shouldn't be treated like Treasury debt, a top House Democrat said Friday.

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement released by his office that it would be a mistake for Congress to do anything that would give debt from the two firms the same legal status as Treasury debt. He does, however, support the Treasury Department's position that it will stand behind debt from the government-sponsored enterprises.

Frank said the government's backing of the two firms will be one of the issues lawmakers deal with when they draft legislation dealing with the future of those firms.

"It is also the case in going forward, as we restructure housing finance, we will make sure that there are no implicit guarantees, hints, suggestions, or winks and nods," he said. "We will be explicit about what is and is not an obligation of the federal government."

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