On March 10, the House Committee on Financial Services will mark up its oversight plan. The plan, a draft of which was circulated the week of January 31, reviews areas over which the Committee plans to conduct oversight, but, according to the plan, “does not preclude oversight or investigation of additional matters or programs as they arise.” The plan also recommends reforms for some programs and the elimination of others, including several HUD programs.
Among the areas over which the Committee expects to exercise its oversight powers are the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). Here, the Committee “will examine proposals to modify or terminate Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s charters” while it considers “the appropriate role, if any, for the Federal government in the secondary mortgage market.” The Committee will also look into GSE payments into the Resolution Funding Corporation (REFCorps) repayment of debts from the savings and loan bail-outs of the 1980s. As these debts are close to being paid off, the Committee will look at the “policy implications for the GSEs upon the satisfaction of the remaining REFCorps debts.”
Within HUD, the oversight plan includes review of current HUD programs “with the goal of identifying program spending cuts or eliminating inefficient and duplicative programs.” In addition, the Committee “will continue its efforts to reform HUD’s largest rental assistance program,” the housing choice voucher program. The Committee expects to review the HOPE VI public housing revitalization program, housing counseling programs, public housing, and the “fragmented structure” of the nation’s homelessness programs administered by seven different agencies.
The plan calls for major changes to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, similar to those proposed by President George W. Bush in FY03. The Committee will assess the program’s eligible activities and its oversight, and will consider removing the wealthiest communities from eligibility for CDBG funds.
Reaching beyond the scope of its usual oversight responsibilities, the Committee’s plan recommends the total elimination of the following programs: HOPE VI, Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, HUD’s Rural Housing and Economic Development, Sustainable Communities, the Energy Innovation Fund, and the legal assistance and emergency homeowner relief programs established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The Committee also recommends rescinding unobligated funds in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and then eliminating this program, and rescinding unobligated public housing capital fund balances after 36 months.
The Committee will mark up its oversight plan on February 10 at 10am ET. The hearing will take place in room 2128 of the Rayburn House office building.