Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) recently pointed out that efforts to reform the U.S. tax code and housing finance should account for housing's important role in the economy. The senators joined a form with industry experts to examine the future of U.S. housing. The forum, “Building a Better Future: America’s Housing at a Crossroads,” was held in Washington, D.C. Tester and Corker are two of the 10 bipartisan cosponsors of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act (S. 1217), which would reform the U.S. housing finance system and include a federal backstop while limiting taxpayer exposure.
On the issue of housing finance, panelists generally agreed that the private sector should have a greater role in mortgage financing, but that some level of federal support is essential for stability and liquidity in the mortgage markets. Some argued for a completely private system, but other panelists disagreed. "Private capital by itself will not secure a safe market and most importantly, private capital during a down market is least likely to be there,” said Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.