Schumer Floor Remarks In Opposition To Mark Calabria, President Trump’s Nominee To Head The Federal Housing Finance Agency

April 4, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to Mark Calabria, President Trump’s nominee to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Mr. President, I rise in opposition – strong opposition – to the nomination of Mark Calabria to become the Director of FHFA.

I hope every Senator who has home owner in their districts will pay attention here. For decades, we’ve had Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac providing mortgages at lower rates for people because there’s a federal guarantee. And because housing is such an important part of our economy, it stimulates jobs and growth in the economy.

So it’s utterly amazing. Once again, we’re in sort of Alice in Wonderland. The nominations from this administration go directly in the face of what I bet almost every member on the other side believes. That interest rates should be low for mortgages, and that there should be some kind of federal guarantee.

Well here’s what Dr. Calabria believes:

First, he believes that the 30-year mortgage is not necessarily part of our federal housing finance system.

He believes that Fannie and Freddie guarantee should be no higher than $200,000!

So I’d ask Dr. Calabria: visit some of the middle-class neighborhoods of New York. Policemen, firemen, teachers, construction workers – their homes would be put in jeopardy by this. And the home is the middle class’ piece of the lot.

What the heck are we doing around here? President Trump doesn’t pay attention to who the nominees are. They’re forwarded by people like Mick Mulvaney, who believes in no government involvement in anything. And people get hurt.

What about the young couple? New job, new baby, and they want to buy their first home. What about the person of color? Finally, with zoning laws changed and others, they can get a home. What about parents who are about to retire and want to sell their home so they can move to smaller quarters and have a little bit of extra money? Grandparents?

To put in somebody like this, who wants to undo the FHFA and undo our rock-solid housing system would be ridiculous. I hope my colleagues will listen. If you believe in homeownership, if you believe the middle class ought to have homeownership, you can’t support somebody who wants to eliminate the federal guarantees, who wants to lower the amount, and who wants to say that the 30-year mortgage – which has had such success in America – should no longer be the bedrock of our system. I hope people will look at who this nominee is and vote “no.” I certainly will.

I yield the floor.