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Banking Committee Approves Calabria Nomination on Party-Line Vote

Published on February 26, 2019 by Greg Zagorski
Banking Committee Approves Calabria Nomination on Party-Line Vote

The Senate Banking Committee earlier today voted to favorably report to the full Senate the nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Calabria’s nomination was advanced on a party-line vote of 13-12, with all Republicans voting in support and Democrats unanimously opposed.

If confirmed, Calabria will be the chief regulator for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks. During a hearing held to consider his nomination, Committee Democrats pressed Calabria about previous statements he had made that were critical of the GSEs and some of their affordable housing programs.

Calabria acknowledged during the hearing that he had previously expressed strong opinions on the GSEs but pledged that his job as FHFA director would be to carry out legislation passed by Congress, not impose his own preferred policies. He also indicated he would not rescind certain GSE affordable housing policies, such as the Affordable Housing Goals, Duty-to-Serve Rule, and contributions to the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, unless he felt obligated to do by statute. NCSHA previously summarized the hearing in more detail.

The full Senate has not yet scheduled a vote on Calabria’s nomination.

Calabria currently works as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence. Prior to joining the Administration, he was a top aide for the Banking Committee, where he helped to draft the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), the legislation that established FHFA. Calabria also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) during President George W. Bush’s administration and held positions with the Cato Institute, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors. Calabria has addressed the state HFAs at several NCSHA events during his career.

The Committee also voted today to favorably report the nominations of Seth Appleton to serve as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD and Robert Kurtz as HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing. The nominations advanced by voice vote, with Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) casting the lone opposition vote on each.