Tim Fernholz is a former staff writer for the Prospect. His work has been published by Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. He is also a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Joseph A. Smith, formerly North Carolina's Bank Commissioner, is the White House's nominee to run the agency that regulates federally-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but he's facing some trouble: If the Senate confirms him for the job, he might adopt policies to help consumers, and that's enough to lead some Republicans to begin another round of obstruction.
Perhaps the best response to last week's Republican "presponse" to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission comes from the New York Times' Joe Nocera, who focuses on commission member Peter Wallison:
The only problem with Mr. Wallison’s theory is that it’s not, as they say, reality-based. Anyone who has looked at the role of Fannie and Freddie will discover they spent most of the housing bubble avoiding subprime loans, because those loans didn’t meet their underwriting standards. (Indeed, for most of their existence, Fannie and Freddie didn’t so much meet their affordable housing goals as gamed them.)
Last night, Republicans walked out of an agreement they had negotiated with Democrats in recent months, killing a spending bill that would have kept government functioning through the new year. Ostensibly, this is due to Republicans' new objections to earmarks, which mean that top Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran turned their back on a bill they had shaped with millions of dollars for their home states. Dave WeigelobservesJohn McCain and newly elected Sen.