|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Friday, November 5, 1999||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following comments today at a full committee hearing on the nominations ofGregory A. Baer of Virginia to be Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the Department of the Treasury and Susan M. Wachter of Pennsylvania to be Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
"It is always a source of wonderment to me that so many good people with great qualifications are willing to serve the country when they're called on to do it and often at great sacrifice, in terms of being away from their families, losing sources of income and subjecting themselves to lots of criticism. So, I want to thank each of you for your willingness to serve.
"Having spent most of the last month with people in the Treasury Department, I have a pretty good idea about what is going on there. I have a very high opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury. He's a very, very smart man, and it doesn't surprise me that he's picking good people to try to carry out his policy.
"Ms. Wachter, I think you have a real challenge at HUD. And let me make it clear that I'm not being partisan. I find that HUD is a poorly run agency, no matter which party is in the White House. It is a never-ending source of amazement to me that we spend as much money as we do at HUD and spend it so poorly that we don't get the benefits for people that we ought to be getting, given the resources that we're committing.
"Whatever you can do, in terms of setting out through research and through analysis, ways that we can improve the quality of housing for the people we're trying to help and ways that we can spend the money we're spending better, I think you've got an opportunity here to make a great contribution, and I commend you to it.
"I intend to begin next year to hold some comprehensive oversight hearings related to HUD; to look at all of the difficulties that we have with HUD; to look at the constant source of problems we have where HUD ends up losing millions of dollars as a result of what seemed to be trivial decisions that people made. As you get settled at HUD, let me say on behalf of our staff and myself, that any suggestions you have of anything we could do through legislation or through being supportive of the president is something I would be interested in. I hope you will feel comfortable contacting us."