June 17, 2014


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks during a Banking Committee hearing to consider the nominations of The Honorable Julian Castro to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Ms. Laura Wertheimer to be Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Before us today are nominees for two important positions:  Mayor Julian Castro to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Ms. Laura Wertheimer to be the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Both positions will have a strong impact on housing and housing finance in this country and I look forward to learning what the nominees will bring to each.  Mayor Castro, there are two issues that this Committee has spent extensive time addressing during this Congress: the future of housing finance reform and the fiscal solvency of the Federal Housing Administration.  We need to know what your approach will be on both of these issues and whether you will be advocating on behalf of them. 
Within the debate of Housing Finance Reform, current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has worked very actively with this Committee to develop and advocate for S. 1217, which recently passed this Committee with a bipartisan majority.  We must continue to move forward on housing finance reform, especially as we approach the 6th anniversary of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being put into conservatorship.
The Committee has also passed bipartisan legislation to address the current capital deficiencies in the FHA’s insurance fund.  In this manner, it would be important to hear from Mayor Castro that he is 100 percent committed to getting the capital levels to their required levels, and as soon as possible. 
Ms. Wertheimer faces a different but equally challenging task if she is confirmed to be the Inspector General of the FHFA.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac represent $5 trillion in taxpayer exposure.  The FHFA not only oversees those companies, but is also responsible for regulating the Federal Home Loan Banks and the very different business models that they represent.  Further, due to the conservatorship of Fannie and Freddie, the Director of FHFA simultaneously acts as regulator, executive and shareholder of those companies. 
All of this means that the FHFA IG has very unique oversight responsibilities as compared to an IG who is not operating under those circumstances.  Ms. Wertheimer has the opportunity today to inform us as to how she will handle these exceptional challenges.
I look forward to hearing from each of our nominees on these important issues and more.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.