An unusual mix of political leaders on the left and right dealt a major blow to a housing finance bill yesterday, leaving its prospects for passage unlikely this year.

The Senate Banking Committee’s 13-9 vote came two weeks after the committee delayed consideration of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act (S. 1217)  in an attempt to secure more support.

That strategy didn’t pan out, as Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) acknowledged afterward.

After exhausting every option to try and strike a deal quickly that would add votes at the committee level, I have concluded it is best to move forward with the majority we have now in committee and continue working to build support for the bill as it moves to the floor.

News reports indicated Johnson had hoped to secure at least 16 votes in favor of the bill. He was unable to persuade six of Democrat colleagues, however, meaning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isn’t likely to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Liberals said the Johnson-Crapo bill didn’t provide enough protection for Americans seeking affordable housing or provide regulators with adequate power. Warren was among the most vocal critics.

Conservatives, meanwhile, complained the bill leaves taxpayers on the hook by maintaining a significant role for government in housing finance. Even though it would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bill would authorize many new government-sponsored entities to emerge in their place.

Before yesterday’s committee action, a group of conservatives spoke out in opposition to the legislation. They included Ken Blackwell, director of the Coalition for Mortgage Security; Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring; Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Erick Erickson, founder of RedState.

In a memo, they wrote:

While Johnson-Crapo claims to end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it does little more than create a new government entity to perform the same role as Fannie and Freddie.  Serious reform requires more than simply changing the name on the sign and claiming the old pitfalls are magically gone.

What happens next isn’t clear. House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has his own plan, the PATH Act, and Reid doesn’t appear inclined to advance a bill that had more support in committee from Republicans than Democrats.

The following is a breakdown of the Senate Banking Committee’s vote yesterday.

Yeas (13):

  1. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
  2. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
  3. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
  4. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
  5. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
  6. Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
  7. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
  8. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)
  9. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
  10. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
  11. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)
  12. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
  13. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Nays (9):

  1. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  2. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  3. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  4. Jack Reed (D-RI)
  5. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  6. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  7. Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA)
  8. David Vitter (R-LA)
  9. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)