White House hands off housing finance dilemma to Congress

DANIEL WAGNER,AP Business Writers
DEREK KRAVITZ,AP Business Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is laying out three broad options for overhauling the mortgage lending system, but will let Congress make the final decision.

The Treasury Department says in a report released Friday that the government should withdraw its support for the mortgage market slowly, over five years or more. The report describes a path for winding down the troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The three options are: end the government's role in guaranteeing most mortgages; support the mortgage market only in times of stress; or provide a government guarantee for mortgage investments created by private companies.

The bailouts of Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers nearly $150 billion.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.