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“The default rates they´re experiencing are not out of the ordinary for periods of economic distress,” he said, but the long-running credit crisis and recent loss of confidence in financial markets forced the administration to act.

Anthony Sanders said that Fannie and Freddie are experiencing low default rates compared with other lenders and deserve Congress’ backing. Republicans should resist the urge to dismantle the agencies as long as they continue to provide stability and low mortgage rates for most home loans.

“The most important thing for Congress to realize is that financial markets need stability. Attacking [their] charters would only contribute to uncertainty and decrease stability,” he said.

Some analysts were skeptical that the taxpayers’ money would be well spent.

Graham Fisher & Co., questioned whether taxpayers should be forced to help pay dividends to Fannie and Freddie stockholders or to help settle likely shareholder lawsuits against the companies. Some members of Congress also want to ensure bailout funds are not used for those purposes.


“Housing prices had not fallen on a nationwide basis at all since the Depression,” Mr. Raines said in a live chat on The Washington Times Web site. “Fannie had the capital to withstand a 5 percent decline but has had to raise additional capital to manage a 15 percent decline.”

Some analysts think home prices will fall another 15 percent before bottoming out, which would lead to even deeper losses at the agencies.