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New Distractions, Old Tricks

Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki takes on the latest games of distraction from those looking to avoid the choice between families on Main Street and bankers on Wall Street.

Unfortunately some opponents of reform appear to be up to their old tricks again.   As Wall Street reform moves to the floor next week and on the heels of a speech this morning where the President made the case for what is at stake for the American people, opponents of reform have decided that a campaign of distraction is their only option to stop the growing momentum for bipartisan reform. 

Let’s be crystal clear on the substance regarding the GSEs. We agree that Fannie and Freddie are long overdue for reform.  That is why the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development initiated a process a few weeks ago to look not just at reforming the GSEs, but our entire system of housing finance.

During the housing bubble and financial collapse a broad set of failures from Wall Street to Main Street to Washington affected the entire housing market. The Administration responded with a vigorous set of housing policies to restore stability in the housing market in which the GSEs played a crucial role.  Today, the housing market is still in the process of stabilizing.  Because private capital has not yet returned to the housing finance market, Americans today would still face great difficulty in getting a mortgage to buy a new home or refinancing their existing home if the GSEs were not playing the role they are playing.  

We are committed to comprehensive reform of the housing finance system.  There should be no confusion about the goal of these reforms: The GSEs will not exist as they did in the past.  The Administration is committed to working closely with Congress and the American people to reform Fannie and Freddie and the broader system of housing finance in a way that keeps the housing market stable and helps responsible homeowners.

Make no mistake: Those who are attacking the current bill before the Senate on financial reform are playing a game of distraction from the real choice in this debate – standing with the American families on Main Street or the status quo on Wall Street.  The bill before the Senate is a strong piece of legislation that will bring rules of the road for Wall Street to protect families and help prevent another crisis that cost more than 8 million American jobs from happening again. 

Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director