The Supreme Court ruled today that the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is unconstitutional, and that its sole agency head may be removed by the president. Wasting little time following the SCOTUS decision, President Biden announced that he will be proceeding with plans to replace FHFA Director Mark Calabria who has been in office since being Senate confirmed in 2019. National Taxpayers Union (NTU), the nation’s oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, thanks Director Calabria for some of his important accomplishments -- many of which NTU worked on with the Director and supported.
With Director Calabria soon to be gone, taxpayers will lose a true champion of taxpayers, free markets, and limited government at one of the government’s most important agencies. FHFA is not a well-known government agency but it has an important mission of oversight and regulator for the two Government-Sponsored Enterprises, known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which backstop close to half of the entire U.S. mortgage market. It’s taxpayers that are required to periodically bail out these broken housing institutions when there are downturns in the housing market.
While the ability to remove the director from office is now certainly within President Biden’s authority, it is clear that it was done due to political pressure, rather than one based on facts. After all, Director Calabria has a long list of accomplishments that should be celebrated. From numerous pro-taxpayer rules, to putting in place the groundwork to recapitalize the GSEs, and ensuring the safety and soundness of Fannie and Freddie during the COVID-19 crisis, Mark Calabria is leaving the agency in a much better position than when he entered it.
Director Calabria leaves the FHFA having delivered on key wins for American taxpayers and rightsizing the government’s role in the secondary mortgage market. No doubt he maintained a forward-thinking approach, ensuring that the government is in a much stronger position to weather the next housing market crisis. The American taxpayer had a great public servant in Mark Calabria, and NTU enthusiastically thanks him for his remarkable years of dedicated service.