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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor to express my support for Carol Galante, who is from my home State of California, in her nomination for Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration and Assistant Secretary for Housing.

The FHA Commissioner is directly responsible for oversight of the FHA insurance portfolio, which includes single family, multifamily housing and insured health care facilities. Carol Galante has been serving in an acting capacity since last year, but it is critical that she be confirmed by the Senate today.

While Acting FHA Commissioner, Carol Galante has made improvements to the long term health and position of the FHA. It is important that we confirm her to this position because continuing in an acting capacity adds to overall uncertainty in the market regarding the role of the FHA.

In the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble, the FHA has played a vital role in providing access to credit for worthy homebuyers looking to purchase a home. As the private mortgage insurance market pulled back, the FHA has stepped in to make sure that credit-worthy borrowers have the ability to get a mortgage.

Carol Galante has taken steps as the Acting Commissioner to help FHA better manage risk, bolster the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and streamline programs to better enable FHA to fulfill its mission of contributing to the creation and growth of stable, sustainable, inclusive communities.

This includes placing a moratorium on the troubled full drawdown reverse mortgage program, increasing underwriting standards for riskier borrowers, and increasing down payment requirements and insurance premiums for higher balance mortgages.

I believe that these steps will help enhance the future solvency of the FHA while allowing the agency to fulfill its mission of providing low-income and first time homebuyers with access to affordable mortgage credit.

Carol Galante had decades of work experience in affordable housing development before she went to HUD to manage FHA's multifamily programs; this gives her a unique perspective on the issues facing our Nation's housing and mortgage markets.

In addition to her early work in the private sector in real estate development, ownership, and management, she worked for a number of California cities as a city planner and in community economic development.

These roles led to her eventual position for 25 years as president and chief executive of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, the largest nonprofit developer of affordable, mixed-income and mixed-use developments in California. While at BRIDGE, she helped create partnerships between government, private industry and nonprofits.

This blend of public and private experience has been extremely valuable for the Federal Housing Administration as it deal with both the private loan and mortgage industry.

Given her demonstrated and unique experience in the housing market, I strongly urge the confirmation of Carol J. Galante as Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and Assistant Secretary for Housing.

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