Washington (CNN) - The $33 billion bill passed by the Senate on Saturday, which extends the payroll tax reduction and other items by two months, will be offset by an increase in fees that new homeowners with federally-backed mortgages will pay to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.
Those entities would then turn that money over to the U.S. Treasury.
The increase would amount to about $15 per month for every $200,000 loaned, Senate aides estimated. Those fees would last for the lives of those loans in order to pay for the two-month extension, they said.
Lawmakers on the deficit reduction "super committee" first considered this revenue source as a way to reduce the budget deficit.
It was adopted to pay for the payroll tax cut bill – which also includes an extension of unemployment benefits and an increase in fees paid to doctors who treat Medicare patients – because it has broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and is supported by President Barack Obama.
They like it because Washington policymakers want to lower taxpayer exposure to bad loans now that the federal government has taken over Fannie and Freddie. Those entities currently back about 9 out of 10 mortgages in the country and therefore are at great risk for expensive defaults, the aides said.
The idea is that if the fees are raised for federally-backed mortgages, it should make it easier for private mortgage companies to compete against them. That is, in part, because the private companies generally have to charge more for their services than Fannie and Freddie, as private companies don't have the advantage of being backed by the government, aides explained.