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Harry Reid’s S.O.S. to K Street

Democrat Leader Opposes DeMint's Reforms to Fannie, Freddie

Hoping to stave off a fight from conservatives on the housing bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a direct appeal to K Street lobbyists for help. RedState has obtained a copy of the e-mail from a Reid staffer sent this afternoon.

The request to K Street came shortly after Roll Call reported that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) would hold up the legislation unless it’s amended to include a provision prohibiting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from lobbying Congress.

Reid staffer Mark Wetjen wrote in the message: “We are informed that Sen. DeMint would like to seek an amendment to the House amendment. While we have not seen Sen. DeMint’s amendment, it’s fair to say that such an amendment could complicate debate and delay passage of the housing bill.”

DeMint has argued that for the housing bill to achieve real reform, the lobbying practices of Fannie and Freddie must be curtailed. Democrats have included some long-sought reforms to the government-sponsored entities in the legislation, but DeMint want them to go further.

“They could at least include some legislation that restricted the massive lobbying that Fannie and Freddie have used to hush people up for years,” DeMint told Roll Call. He added that without restrictions on their lobbying practices, the companies would continue to resist government oversight.

Reid’s message to K Street is the latest indication that Democrats are closely aligned with Fannie and Freddie — and apparently willing to go to great lengths to protect them.

—–Original Message—–
From: Wetjen, Mark (Reid)
Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:25 PM
To: majleaderreid-business@democratic-message-center.senate.gov
Subject: Update on housing

If the House passes the housing bill and the Senate receives it today, Sen. Reid is prepared to move to proceed to the measure today, which will be the House message to H.R. 3121 (containing one amendment). While a motion to proceed to a House message is non-debatable, technically the motion still requires a majority vote, unless consent is given to proceed without a vote.

If cloture is necessary – the Republican filibuster record suggests it will be – Sen. Reid could file cloture on a motion to concur with the House amendment today. In that event, the cloture vote would ripen on Friday. If cloture is invoked, the 30-hour clock begins to run from that point in time.

We are informed that Sen. DeMint would like to seek an amendment to the House amendment. While we have not seen Sen. DeMint’s amendment, it’s fair to say that such an amendment could complicate debate and delay passage of the housing bill.

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