Conine said that HUD is the only Cabinet agency extensively involved in housing issues and that it makes no sense to entrust the Treasury — an agency with virtually no experience in housing matters — with the responsibility of evaluating the effectiveness of housing policies, especially those affecting working families.
Under the leadership of 1967 NAHB President Leon Weiner, who died last year, NAHB fought in the 1960s to establish a Cabinet-level agency for housing, acknowledging its importance to the American way of life, said Conine.
Stripping HUD of its mission oversight of the two major mortgage lenders would constitute a “castrophe for housing,” he said, by forcing the agency to abdicate its responsibility as the voice for housing at the Cabinet level.
“Our board members involved in housing finance feel that the Administration is making a brazen attempt to divert capital from housing to others sectors of the economy,” he said.
“Without a strong housing market, the nation’s economy would be foundering,” he said. “If capital flows away from housing, it might help Wall Street, but it would kill Main Street. We’re not sure Congress realizes just how dangerous this plan is.” (To read the President’s Message, click here.)
The NAHB board called for the continuation of HUD’s approval of new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs and its enforcement of affordable housing goals.
NAHB policy does support the Administration’s proposal to maintain the current charter of the GSEs, noting that any efforts to privatize or withdraw any of their federal privileges and legal exemptions would diminish their ability to provide housing financing at the lowest possible cost.
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