|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, December 7, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs applauded the Senate approval today of The American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act, H.R.5640.
"This legislation not only improves and modernizes a variety of federal programs, but also overhauls the nation's current housing laws," Gramm said. "I am particularly pleased that this legislation includes the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act, a cooperative product that was based on input from industry and other interested parties and successfully ends a 10-year legislative stalemate."
The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act was introduced by Sen. Richard Shelby and approved March 8, 2000, by the Banking Committee. It modernizes the requirements of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.
The American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act also renews some 45 reporting requirements for the executive branch and regulatory agencies, including the Federal Reserve's report on monetary policy, previously required under the lapsed Humphrey-Hawkins Act. In addition to reviving the Federal Reserve's report, the legislation requires, for the first time, that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve appear before Congress twice annually to report on the conduct of monetary policy. It also puts the salary of the Federal Reserve Board Chairman on a par with cabinet secretaries and provides regulatory relief to financial institutions.
The legislation also provides for housing assistance funds to be used by low-income people for purchasing homes; incentives to increase homeownership, particularly for elderly and disabled persons; and improvements in housing programs for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.
"The proposed changes will increase the efficiencies of subsidized housing programs and provide that a greater number of truly needy Americans may be assisted at no greater cost to the American taxpayer," Gramm said. "Sen. Wayne Allard, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, worked hard on the bill's provisions, and I could not be more pleased with the final product."
Sen. Allard was the lead sponsor of the Senate companion bill to H.R.5640. He was joined by Sens. Paul Sarbanes, Rick Santorum, Rod Grams, Richard Shelby, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Daniel Inouye and John Kerry.
Finally, Gramm praised the bipartisan nature of the legislation, calling it "the product of sensible, bipartisan compromise through positive negotiations."