House members look to pay Fannie, Freddie employees as gov’t workers

by JON PRIOR –Housingwire

Two members of the House Financial Services Committee are working on legislation that would align the pay of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees with workers at federal bank regulatory agencies.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) raised the amendment Tuesday during the GSE subcommittee hearing on a bill from Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). Bachus’s bill, the Equity in Government Compensation Act, would suspend the current compensation packages for GSE employees. It would apply to all GSE employees not just top executives.

"We’ve recognize that the pay scales for the SEC, FDIC and OCC are more comparable with what we are trying to do at the GSEs," Green said. "It would allow that the compensation be aligned with the pay scales at those institutions."

Bachus acknowledged that he and Green reached an agreement on the bill. However, the two congressmen agreed to withdraw the amendment related to pay to clarify the language for the full committee hearing that will not come until the end of May.

"We will be working on that as we move to the full committee," Bachus said.

"I view this as an improvement to the underlying bill. I have committed to Mr. Green that we will look to extend this to other employees at Fannie and Freddie," Bachus said.

But then the question for employee benefits came up. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) brought it up. According to Green’s amendment, a "type of benefits" package would be aligned with an employee at a bank regulator, but Bachus moved to strike that language and leave it at compensation only.

Ackerman then echoed what Democrats complained about for almost the entire nine-hour hearing, that Republicans were rushing a slew of bills that could total as many as 24 to reform the only major players in the secondary mortgage market.

"We’re rushing headlong over a cliff, and I’m just pointing out what you guys are agreeing to in your rush at breakneck speed, which is going to result in breaking your neck," Ackerman said.

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