On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump is interested in privatizing the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), a pair of government-sponsored enterprises that together guarantee about half of the mortgages in the United States.
The Treasury Department insists that they want to privatize the agencies in a way that would not decrease access to credit. According to the Wall Street Journal, these changes would take years to implement, and existing mortgages would be unaffected. The government would also continue to backstop the agencies even after they are privatized.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are responsible for repackaging loans into securities to sell to investors. The government assumed tight control over them during the 2008 financial crisis to prevent their collapse.
Members of both parties have suggested abolishing the enterprises for years. Republicans in particular have tried to blame Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the financial crisis, although this argument is specious.