On Monday December 31, 2012, the Senate approved the appointment of Carol J. Galante as the Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Assistant Secretary of Housing for HUD by a measure of 69-24, with 18 of the approving votes coming from Senate Republicans. Galante has held the title of Acting FHA Commissioner since July 2011 and has had direct responsibility for oversight and administration of the FHA’s trillion dollar insurance portfolio, which includes single family and multifamily housing as well as insured health care facilities. She is also responsible for several of HUD’s rental assistance programs, including 1.2 million units of Project Based Rental Assistance, and over 400,000 apartments for elderly and the disabled under the Section 202 and 811 programs.

NH&RA Executive Director Thom Amdur notes, “Commissioner Galante’s tenure at HUD has been characterized by strong leadership and vision. We commend the Senate on her confirmation and look forward to continuing to foster the strong partnership between NH&RA and HUD.”

Galante and her colleagues at FHA and HUD will face significant challenges in 2013, especially considering the current financial situation of FHA’s mortgage insurance programs. In its annual report to Congress, HUD notes that FHA does not have sufficient reserves to cover projected losses, which has sparked many debates about whether the agency is meeting its stated purpose. The FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act of 2012 (HR 4264), a measure passed by the House in the 112th Congress but yet to be passed by the Senate, would stem some of the current fiscal problems associated with FHA. More specifically, HR 4264 would place a minimum on annual FHA mortgage insurance premiums and enhance FHA risk and enforcement measures to protect against fraud and abuse, among other provisions.

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