House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling is "cautiously optimistic" that the House will vote this fall on his bill to reform the mortgage finance market and hold a conference with the Senate to resolve policy disagreements.

"I have an open mind, and we are speaking to many people now about some revisions and improvements that could be made to that act before it goes to the floor," said Hensarling during a question and answer session at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Texas Republican and several senior members of the banking panel introduced the bill which would unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and privatize the secondary mortgage market.

Hensarling defended his bill during the Q&A against several repeated criticisms, including concerns the legislation would do away with the 30-year fixed mortgage and make it harder for middle class families to buy homes.

"It is worth noting here that Section 213 would be the first time that the FHA is ever specifically required to offer a 30-year fixed rate insurance product, which should conclusively refute the argument regarding the 30-year fixed rate mortgage," he said, arguing that the Dodd-Frank Act, not his legislation, is what would drive up the costs of buying a home for many borrowers.

"[T]he Dodd-Frank Act could cut the number of mortgages in half and double the cost of those that remain. It's that bad," Hensarling said.

For the full piece see "Hensarling Pushes for GSE Reform Conference, Defends Bill" (may require subscription).