On November 17, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on two nominees for HUD: Maurice Jones to be Deputy Secretary and Carol Galante to be Assistant Secretary for Housing- FHA Commissioner.
If confirmed, Mr. Jones would lead HUD’s daily operations. Questions for him centered on what he believed his greatest challenges would be at HUD. Mr. Jones responded he would want to make sure the right people are serving in the right roles at HUD, and that HUD is working as efficiently as possible. Mr. Jones is currently the publisher of the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and served as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services of then-Governor Mark Warner, who is now a Senator on the Banking Committee.
Questions for Ms. Galante focused on the health of the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund, which ideally will generate sufficient revenues through its own lines of business to pay for itself and potentially push revenues into the larger HUD budget. Ms. Galante said during her tenure as Acting FHA Commissioner she has focused on risk management and holding lenders accountable. Ms. Galante has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing since 2009. Ms. Galante committed, if confirmed, to provide effective leadership to provide liquidity and to protect the Department’s insurance funds. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) noted that the problem is, “you inherited a portfolio that stinks.”
Senator Johanns told both HUD nominees that they have great challenges ahead and great experience behind them to do their jobs.
NLIHC joined other organizations in a November 16 letter coordinated by Enterprise Community Partners in support of Ms. Galante’s nomination. “As the nation’s housing market remains fragile, we need Ms. Galante’s demonstrated experience at FHA to provide leadership on and practical solutions to America’s housing challenges. We urge you to approve Ms. Galante to take on this challenge,” the letter said.
The Committee has not scheduled a vote on the nominations.
Access the hearing testimony and archived webcast at: http://banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=d02e0f9d-99e7-404c-b6ce-8dd2e95ad42c
View the support letter for Ms. Galante at: http://nlihc.org/doc/Galante_Nomination_Support_Ltr_11-16-11.pdf