Congresswoman Beatty Demands Data and Answers to Administration’s Housing Overhaul Plans
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On October 22, 2019, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing, “The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration’s Plans to Change Housing Finance in America,” to examine the White House’s proposal to overhaul the country’s housing finance system.
Unveiled last month by the U.S. Department of Treasury and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Trump’s plan would end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two federal agencies responsible for purchasing and securing home loans. In addition, the Treasury-HUD proposal calls for the elimination of affordable housing goals and allows private companies to enter the marketplace—all moves that many housing advocates fear will reduce access to market-rate loans for otherwise creditworthy borrowers.
“I find it hard to believe that anyone would be surprised by today’s hearing title, especially in light of the concerns voiced by so many nonprofits, stakeholders, and community organizations,” Beatty said. “It is difficult to take this Administration at its word—given past statements and controversies. That is why I want to see the data that backs up the White House’s assertions that borrowers will not be negatively impacted.” She continued, “HUD and Treasury should be in the business of expanding access to credit and the availability of affordable housing units so that more families can live their American Dream.”
In response to Beatty’s questions, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said that his agency relied on data from a variety of sources but struggled to identify or cite a specific report. Beatty followed up by demanding that both HUD and Treasury submit applicable reports and findings to Committee members for review.
Under current law, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—which back nearly 50 percent of all mortgages—are required to meet affordable housing goals, as well as access to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. However, if Trump’s plan is enacted, the affordable housing goal would be replaced, making it more costly for creditworthy first-time homebuyers and low-income borrowers to purchase a home according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
To watch an archived recording of Beatty's questioning, please visit YouTube.
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