White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said Monday that the massive federal bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have been avoided if Congress had listened to President Bush’s recommendations.
Perino said the White House asked Congress “for years” to create an independent regulator to oversee the mortgage giants but Congress ignored his requests until it was too late.
"It is exactly the kind of event we warned about and tried to prevent over the years," Perino said during a morning press briefing at the White House.
"Remember that we have highlighted the systemic risk posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because of the very large role they play in housing markets and because of their business practices," she said.
Perino also said the government bailout will allow time for the next administration and Congress to determine the appropriate future role for the companies.
Predictably, congressional Democrats didn't quite see it that way.
“The White House Press Office is entitled to its own opinion, but not to its own set of facts," said Sarah Feinberg, a spokeswoman for House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel.
"While the Democratic Congress was acting in response to the struggling economy and skyrocketing foreclosure rates, President Bush and Senator McCain were still saying the American economy was strong and sound. And while the Democratic Congress took action on the housing crisis, Congressional Republicans still hadn’t taken the problem seriously, saying efforts to stem the housing crisis amounted to using ‘a sledgehammer on a gnat.’”