The four Republicans appointed to the commission investigating the root causes of the financial crisis plan to bypass the bipartisan panel and release their own report Wednesday, according to people familiar with the commission's work.
The Republicans, led by the commission's vice chairman, former congressman and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Bill Thomas, will likely focus their report on the explosive growth of subprime mortgages and the heavy role played by the federal government in pushing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase and insure them. They'll also likely focus on the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 law that encourages banks to lend to underserved communities, these people said.
The Republicans' report is expected to conclude that government policy helped inflate the housing bubble and that prices weren't expected to crash because the government pushed homeownership so aggressively. They say that the report will note that once the bubble burst, a financial panic followed because firms weren't adequately prepared.
Besides Thomas, the Republicans on the panel include Peter Wallison, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Keith Hennessey, former head of the National Economic Council under George W. Bush and as a fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former chief of the Congressional Budget Office and now with American Action Forum, a policy institute in Washington.