REFinBlog

Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

February 14, 2019

Housing Policy, Going Forward

By David Reiss

Mark Calabria

The Hill published a column of mine, The Next Two Years of Federal Housing Policy Could Be Positive under Mark Calabria. it opens,

The Trump administration has been a nightmare for housing advocates. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carson has stopped enforcing fair housing laws, with assists from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting. Those two have been working to scale back fair lending enforcement and the Community Reinvestment Act.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mulvaney has gutted consumer protection in the mortgage market. I am more hopeful though when it comes to housing finance reform. The administration has nominated Mark Calabria to be the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; the FHFA is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator.

There have been three types of leaders on Trump’s team that have been working on housing issues. First are those who seek to explicitly undermine the work of the agency they lead, like Mulvaney. Leaders like Mulvaney are generally proponents of a radical conservative ideology that has been way out of step with American political norms until the Tea Party movement swept through Congress. Second are those who pay some lip service to the agency’s mission, but work to undermine it, like Carson. And third are those who are clearly industry favorites, like Mnuchin and Otting. They primarily seek to address concerns of the industry they regulate at the expense of their agency’s broader public mission.

Calabria represents a fourth type of leader, one who is more likely to implement a more traditional Republican agenda for the housing sector. For the last couple of years, he has been serving as Vice President Pence’s chief economist.

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