Castro pushes for housing finance reform legislation

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on Tuesday urged Congress to continue pushing forward on passage of a housing finance reform bill.

Castro said that a government-dominated market is “unsustainable” and that a rebalancing of the housing finance scales — attracting more private capital — is needed to create a more robust sector.

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He suggested that lawmakers press on with a Senate measure that gained approval in the Banking Committee and was authored by panel Chairman Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonTrump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation MORE (D-S.D.) and ranking member Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean Crapo2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account MORE (R-Idaho).

“Now we must keep pushing until housing reform legislation gets over the finish line, once and for all,” he said during the Bipartisan Policy Center’s housing summit.

“In the meantime, we must do all we can to get capital flowing again.”

The Johnson-Crapo measure has bipartisan support in the Senate but isn’t expected to move through the upper chamber this year because of differences with the House.

That means that housing leaders would have to revive their efforts in the next Congress.

David Stevens, head of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), said "we welcome his invitation to work together and completely agree that we should be looking for ways to attract private capital back into the market, establish certainty for lenders and protect taxpayers for the future."

Castro said he planned to focus on ramping up homeownership as a way to generate economic growth and build stable communities. 

"I’s time to remove the stigma associated with promoting homeownership," he said.

"When done responsibly, it strengthens communities and boosts our economy."