WASHINGTON (2/8/13)--House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and 44 other U.S. House members have called on President Barack Obama to nominate a permanent Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director to replace FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.
"Ensuring that FHFA implements congressional directives to support the most liquid, efficient, competitive, and resilient housing finance markets is a matter of national urgency," the members wrote in a Thursday letter. "We strongly urge you to nominate an FHFA director who is ready to fulfill this mission and address the many challenges still facing the nation's housing finance markets," the letter added.
All 45 cosignors are Democrats.
DeMarco has been FHFA acting director since Sept. 1, 2009. Obama in 2011 nominated former N.C. bank commissioner Joseph Smith to serve as full-time director, but that nomination was not confirmed by the Senate.
The FHFA has been directed by Congress to maximize assistance for homeowners and minimize foreclosures. The agency has also been granted explicit authority to modify mortgage loans through loan principal reductions, the letter said.
The letter charged that DeMarco has failed to authorize a loan modification pilot program that would test whether a principal reduction program could save taxpayers money while helping borrowers keep their homes.
DeMarco last year said he objected to allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pursue a broad principal forgiveness program for troubled homeowners. He said the debate over this type of relief is "about which tools, at the margin, better balance two goals: maximizing assistance to several hundred thousand homeowners while minimizing further cost to all other homeowners and taxpayers."
For the full letter, use the resource link.