Yesterday the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued to Congress its Strategic Plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Conservatorships.

Acting Director DeMarco and FHFA staff are to be soundly commended for their work in developing and publishing the Plan. The Plan is equally thoughtful and provocative and represents an essential next step in the continuing efforts to resolve the nation’s housing crisis.

For example, the Plan acknowledges the critical importance of the technical and business infrastructures currently maintained and managed by the GSEs and without which the effective function of secondary market securitizations would be impossible. Likewise, the Plan notes the critical role of both GSEs in the nation’s continuing efforts to resolve the foreclosure crisis and maintain the availability of credit for American homeowners. Lastly, the Plan posits that the current market dominance of the GSEs is unsustainable and must be reduced through the return of private capital to an industry now dominated by the federal government.

But what distinguishes the Plan in particular is the fact that while it lays out markers and establishes broad goals, it does not set out the specific tactical requirements to achieve those goals – a fact that its detractors will no doubt likely seize upon. But nor shouldit – that is not the role of a strategic plan the purpose of which is to identify key macro considerations, objectives and risks.

FHFA should also be commended for its intellectual honesty – too often absent in Washington – for acknowledging the critically important role of Congress and the Administration in defining the “future structure of housing finance” in America and their collective inability thus far to do so.

And it may be that last point that is the Plan’s most important - as it serves as a challenge to Congress and the Administration to put politics aside and get to the business of governing. Indeed, the future of housing finance in America – and the economic well being of us all – may well depend on their willingness and ability to do so.