The two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday will be funded in part by higher lending fees for consumers who get mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The House yesterday passed a two-month extension of payroll tax cuts that were set to expire at year end. The tax cut will save the average worker about $20 a week in taxes. The bill also continues unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans.
To cover the $33 billion cost of extending the payroll tax cuts, Congress came up with a list of spending reductions and fee hikes, including an increase in the fees lenders pay to have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guarantee a mortgage.
Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, criticized the increased loan guaranty fee, saying it penalized millions of home buyers because lenders will pass along those higher costs to consumers, making it more expensive to buy a house or refinance a mortgage.
“Congress is seeking to enact a short-term economic stimulus by taking money out of the pockets of people who need a mortgage and ultimately raising the price of home ownership for all Americans seeking loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” he said.
Guarantee fees should be used for their intended purpose — protecting against mortgage defaults — and not to raise taxes, Nielsen concluded.