EXCLUSIVE — A group of House Republicans is seeking to
overturn a recent rule
from the Federal Housing Finance Agency that would implement increased mortgage rates for borrowers with
higher credit scores,
calling the change a veiled attempt to “enforce equity” in the U.S.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who is leading the group, introduced the legislation on Thursday that seeks to
block the FHFA rule
from taking effect as scheduled on Monday, according to a copy of the bill obtained by the Washington Examiner. The Arizona Republican has received support from at least 30 co-signers, although more lawmakers are expected to sign on, according to his office.
GOP SENATORS DEMAND DETAILS ON IMPACT OF BIDEN MORTGAGE RATE CHANGES ON BORROWERS
“The FHFA, led by a President Biden-appointed director, is punishing financially responsible mortgage borrowers,” Biggs said. “Their agenda of equity over equality defies common sense and will endanger the stability of the housing market. I hear regularly from constituents about the high cost of housing, which has been exacerbated by the insane interest rates imposed to combat Biden’s skyrocketing inflation. If implemented, the latest FHFA fee change could result in thousands of dollars in additional fees for lower-risk homeowners over time, while encouraging and rewarding financial irresponsibility.”
The bill comes in response to a new loan-level matrix released by the FHFA earlier this month that would put some borrowers with high credit scores at risk of paying increased mortgage payments while subsidizing costs for those with lower scores. The new rules could also make it more expensive for borrowers to refinance their homes, requiring them to pull equity out of their property in order to pay off debts.
The change prompted outrage among conservatives, who called the updated matrix a “gross overreach” of the federal government to prioritize equity over equality in the housing market.
“While inflation and the national debt steal money from the pockets of Americans, President Biden wants to add fuel to this fire by attempting to force Americans with low-risk credit scores to subsidize lower rates for high-risk borrowers,” Ryan Walker, the vice president of government relations for Heritage Action, said. “This is a gross overreach and will ultimately contribute to the growing inflation problem we have in this country.”
The FHFA responded to those concerns, arguing the subsidized fees are not being paid for by the increased mortgage rates on those with higher credit scores.
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“Higher-credit-score borrowers are not being charged more so that lower-credit-score borrowers can pay less. Some updated fees are higher, and some are lower, in differing amounts. They do not represent pure decreases for high-risk borrowers or pure increases for low-risk borrowers,” the agency said in a statement.
At least 30 Republicans have signed on to the legislation, including Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Chip Roy (R-TX), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Chris Stewart (R-UT), among others.