The Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this week by a 13-12 party-line vote. Dr. Calabria must now be confirmed by a full Senate to replace the interim Acting Director Joseph Otting. If confirmed, he will lead the agency overseeing the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a pivotal moment. The Administration and Congress are likely to take up housing finance reform this year to define the future of the GSEs, which contribute a tiny fraction of their books of business each year to fund the national Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund.
Mark Calabria has held positions as a chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at HUD, and others at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors. He was also a senior aide to the Senate Banking Committee during the drafting of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created the FHFA.
The Committee heard his testimony and asked questions on February 14. Dr. Calabria’s written remarks do not mention the GSEs or particular policy commitments, but when responding to questions from Democratic senators, Dr. Calabria assured the committee his goals are to “carry out the clear intent of Congress, not to impose my own vision.” The full Senate vote is expected sometime this spring.
Read about Dr. Calabria’s confirmation hearing at: https://bit.ly/2NB0RWq