|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Wednesday, March 8, 2000||202-224-0894|
NOMINEES FOR MINT DIRECTOR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS APPROVED
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs voted today to approve two pieces of legislation: S. 2097, which would make loan guarantees available for the provision of local television service to rural areas, and S. 1452, which would update standards for manufactured housing.
The committee also voted to approve the nomination of former U.S. Rep. Jay Johnson to be director of the U.S. Mint and the nomination of Kathryn Shaw to membership on the president's Council of Economic Advisers.
The committee's approval of S. 2097, the Launching Our Communities' Access to Local Television Act of 2000 (the LOCAL TV Act of 2000), fulfills a pledge by Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, to deliver a bill dealing with rural television service to the full Senate by March 30. The bill's sponsors include Sen. Conrad Burns, Sen. Gramm and Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
"I think we have produced a bill we can all be proud of," Gramm said. "It is a bill that is aimed at maximizing the chances that we will have access to local television signals in our more rural areas and doing it in a way in which we preserve the taxpayers' money that will be invested. A loan that is defaulted is not only a potential loss of up to $1.25 billion, but it's pretty certain that a loan that is defaulted means that the service was not provided."
The bill will facilitate access, on a technologically neutral basis, to signals of local television stations in unserved areas and underserved areas. The bill is designed to minimize the burden on taxpayers by ensuring that the private sector participates in any guaranteed loan; that adequate collateral is available to secure the loan, and that the rights of the federal government are protected in case of default.
The committee also approved S. 1452, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby. The bill would modernize the requirements of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
"This measure is long overdue," Gramm said. "I think it will help every consumer in America who is a potential buyer of manufactured housing."
The bill is intended provide fair, practical federal construction standards that reflect the current state of the manufactured housing industry. It would establish a consensus committee and process for the development and regulation of construction and safety standards, and require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to respond to consensus committee suggestions for improvements and updates to the HUD code for manufactured housing.