Dick Morris falsely claimed that "in the 2000s, when Bush proposed measures to rein in Fannie Mae, Barney Frank killed them." In fact, for much of the 2000s, Frank had no power to "kill ... measures" -- Republicans controlled the House, and Frank sponsored a bill to enhance oversight of Fannie and Freddie soon after Democrats took over the House in 2007.
During the April 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, contributor Dick Morris falsely claimed that "in the 2000s, when Bush proposed measures to rein in Fannie Mae, [Rep.] Barney Frank [D-MA] killed them." In fact, for much of the 2000s, Frank had no power to "kill" measures -- Republicans controlled the House and could have passed legislation regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the House without any Democratic support. Yet during President Bush's tenure, Congress did not pass oversight legislation for Fannie and Freddie until after Democrats gained a majority in both houses of Congress in 2007. Moreover, Frank supported efforts to enhance regulatory oversight on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2005 and passed regulatory oversight reform after becoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007.
Previously, O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly similarly falsely claimed that "the Democrats in charge of the finance committees" resisted efforts by the Bush administration to regulate the mortgage industry and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in particular.
As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, in early 2007, as the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank sponsored H.R. 1427, a bill to create the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), granting that agency "general supervisory and regulatory authority over" Fannie and Freddie and directing it to reform the companies' business practices and regulate their exposure to credit and market risk. The FHFA was eventually created after Congress incorporated provisions that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said were "similar" to those of H.R. 1427 into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which Bush signed into law on July 30, 2008.
Furthermore, before taking over the House Financial Services Committee chairmanship, Frank worked with committee chairman Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH) on the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005, which would have established the FHFA to replace the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) as overseer of the activities of Fannie and Freddie. After voting for the bill in committee, Frank voted against final passage of the bill on the House floor, stating that he was doing so because an amendment added to the bill on the House floor imposed restrictions on the kinds of nonprofit organizations that could receive funding under the bill.
From the April 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Now for the top story tonight: reaction to all this. With us, the purveyor of the perspicacious website DickMorris.com, Dick Morris. So, I -- you know, I thought the kid did a nice job with Barney, you know? I mean, the fact of the matter is that party politics and ideology are so strong in America right now, if you're a liberal Democrat, no matter what they do, you won't challenge him.
MORRIS: Well, the kid's entitled to an answer to his question, so let's give it to him. What Barney Frank did was in the 1990s, he and the Democrats went to Fannie Mae and said, "You are not buying up enough mortgages of poor people. We want you to buy up 42 percent of your mortgages to be of poor people," and then they raised it to 50. And Fannie Mae said, "They can't put any money down." And Barney Frank and Chris Dodd said, "It's OK. Don't let it matter. Don't require any money down." So they gave mortgages they shouldn't have given, where people didn't have any investment.
O'REILLY: OK. And that's an easy explanation.
MORRIS: Yeah, easy answer. And then, when -- in the 2000s, when Bush proposed measures to rein in Fannie Mae, Barney Frank killed them.