South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint is renewing his call for a ban on lobbying by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after the Bush administration announced a major bailout of the mortgage giants over the weekend.
"For years, these two mortgage giants have used taxpayer guarantees to gain enormous profits and lobby Congress to look the other way while they failed homeowners,” said DeMint in a statement. “Now that the federal government has taken control of them, the time has come to stop their lobbying practices and make sure American tax dollars are not being used to win more favors with politicians.”
DeMint proved to be a major thorn in the Democrats' side in July, as he held up passage of major housing legislation in an attempt to get a vote on an amendment banning lobbying of members of Congress by Fannie and Freddie. Behind the scenes, many of DeMint’s colleagues were frustrated by his one-man protest.
Aides to the senator said he plans on introducing the measure as a stand alone bill in the near future.
DeMint, an outspoken fiscal conservative, said he was “disappointed” that the federal government had to spend billions of dollars to intervene, but said he was happy to see a shakeup of top managers at the two mortagage guarantors after the chief executives of both institutions were replaced.
“Despite Secretary Paulson's insistence that their bailout authority would not be used, most of us knew better,” DeMint said. “The only real question then and the critical question now is how much American taxpayers will be forced to shoulder in this mess.”