Treasury Dept. to Host Conference on Freddie and Fannie

Conference will gather input from industry groups, experts

In a possible bid to blunt partisan criticism over the exclusion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the recently passed financial reform bill, the Obama Administration will host a conference to address Fannie and Freddie's future. The Conference on the Future of Housing Finance will take place Aug. 17 in Washington, D.C.

The conference is part of "expanded opportunities for public engagement," according to a statement from the Treasury Department; public input will be considered as the Administration develops a comprehensive housing finance reform proposal for Congress by January 2011.

In April, the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development published seven questions soliciting public response. Questions included what role the federal government should play in the housing finance system, and how the finance system should support sound market practices. Over 300 responses were received, according to the Treasury Department, many of which are now published at www.Regulations.gov, along with the full questions.

"Now is the time to build on the foundation we laid with the historic Wall Street Reform legislation President Obama signed last week and aggressively move forward to improve our nation's housing finance system," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a press release. "The Obama Administration is committed to delivering a comprehensive reform proposal that protects taxpayers, institutes tough oversight, restores the long-term health of our housing market, and strengthens our nation's economic recovery."

Shaun Donovan, U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, said, "The need for reform is clear and we want to listen to a wide range of views as we chart a course to a more robust and stable housing market that works for the benefit of the American people,"

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