I'm currently calling passage of the Menendez bill a less than 50% prospect. This is in no small part because Senate Republicans have been poised to demand the right to offer Fannie-Freddie reform amendments -- which the Democrats fear might prompt embarrassing recollections of their coddling of GSEs during the go-go years. That has seemed to represent a sure way to impede the bill, if not in the Senate Banking Committee then on the floor. And House passage has seemed even less likely.
Nevertheless, check out this blog post that the White House let loose yesterday: It hammers on "five things you should know" about refinancing. It says "the average homeowner would save $3,000 if allowed to refinance ... without costing taxpayers a dime," and urges readers to "share it." As one top lobbyist remarked, "They are pushing this hard."
How resolutely do you think at-risk House and Senate Republicans might stand in the way of such a proposal, particularly if Obama reprises his call for Congress to act? (Remember, with Romney leading the way, they caved on student loan rate-freeze legislation literally within 48 hours.)
I'm still doubtful, but the Menendez bill is unambitious enough to make its passage a defensible concession by the conservatives.In any event, those who are waiting for the day when banks become investible again should make note of this challenge.