According to federal regulators, U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in more aid through 2013 for mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgage giants, seized by the federal government in 2008, may likely have additional capital needs of between $221 billion and $363 billion according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. So far, the companies have received taxpayer aid of $135 billion.
Both companies are at the center of the current national mortgage lending crisis, and are responsible for funding over half of the housing loans in the U.S. The future role for the two firms in the national housing market is the subject of much debate in Congress.
Republicans argue that the government should seek to shrink the dominance of the firms and encourage more competition in the markets. The Obama administration, which has agreed to contribute unlimited funds to keep both companies solvent, has said that the government needs to play a role in the future of the mortgage industry, to keep long term rates stable and mortgages freely available to all homeowners.