Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, gave the following statement at a full Committee hearing entitled, “The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration’s Plans to Change Housing Finance in America.”
As Prepared for Delivery
Today we are here to discuss the impact of the Trump Administration’s housing finance reform plans. We are joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria.
Let me say upfront that the Trump Administration’s housing finance reform plan would be disastrous for our housing system. The Trump Administration is threatening to end the conservatorship of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) without Congressional action to provide an explicit government guarantee.
If implemented in this way, it is likely it would create turmoil in the housing market, prevent many Americans from obtaining 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and block families across the country from attaining the American dream of homeownership.
With this reckless plan for administrative action on the table, the Trump Administration also recommends that Congress make several harmful legislative reforms. For example, the Trump plan would abolish the affordable housing goals, which help to support affordable homeownership and rental housing, and replace them with a mortgage fee that Trump officials have not bothered to spell out the details for. The plan would also fundamentally undermine the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA’s) ability to create affordable homeownership opportunities.
The Trump Administration has proven again and again that it is not to be trusted. It has consistently pushed for harmful housing policies and for slashing and eliminating key housing funding for those most in need.
This is an Administration that has proposed tripling rents on our lowest income households and slashing HUD’s budget by 18 percent. This is an Administration that has eliminated protections for LGBTQ individuals, blocked DREAMers from FHA loans, and proposed to make it nearly impossible for victims of housing discrimination to obtain justice.
This is an Administration that reportedly wants to raze homeless camps, and round up persons experiencing homelessness and force them to live in decrepit federal buildings.
By contrast, Democrats on this Committee have put forth measures to improve the affordability and availability of housing. For example we have bills to end the homelessness crisis, make FHA mortgages more affordable, and protect DREAMers, LGBTQ individuals, families and children with mixed immigration statuses, and foster youth.
When it comes to the housing finance system, I have long maintained that any housing finance reform proposal should adhere to certain key principles.
These principles include:
- maintaining access to the 30-year fixed rate mortgage;
- ensuring sufficient private capital is in place to protect taxpayers;
- providing stability and liquidity so that we can withstand any future financial crisis;
- ensuring a smooth transition to a new finance system;
- requiring transparency and standardization in a way that ensures a level playing field for all financial institutions, especially credit unions and community banks;
- maintaining access for all qualified borrowers that can sustain homeownership and serving homeowners of the future; and,
- ensuring access to affordable rental housing.
It is clear that the Trump Administration proposal does not live up to these principles. Today, this Committee will examine why the officials who are our witnesses today are supporting such a harmful plan.