“Political Lift”: An Interview with Rep. Keith Ellison

As we head into the election home stretch, pieces of Rep. Keith Ellison’s interview with Shelterforce in our latest issue keep coming to mind. Ellison is both a committed advocate for affordable housing and lower income communities and an optmistic, but realistic political strategist, who spoke with us about topics from FHA rules to public housing reform to credit score reporting—and underlying it all, how to get things done in this, or any, Congress.

Here are some updates from his senior legislative assistant (and familiar name to many of us in community development) Carol Wayman on movement since his interview on bills and topics he mentions:

  • The Credit Access and Inclusion Act, H.R. 6363 was introduced on September 10, 2012 with five cosponsors including Walter Jones (R-NC), Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX). There was a legislative hearing on the bill on September 13 before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
  • In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced its plans to provide oversight of credit reporting agencies.
  • More and more private sector foreclosure mitigations include principal reductions but Ed DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency refuses to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer this option.  News reports say that President Obama may request the resignation of Mr. DeMarco post-election.
  • FHFA’s REO initiative is operational in their first target communities.  It will not be a national program as it’s only available in communities with many REO properties held by GSEs.

Harold Simon is the former executive director of the National Housing Institute and former publisher of Shelterforce.
Miriam Axel-Lute is CEO/editor-in-chief of Shelterforce. She lives in Albany, New York, and is a proud small-city aficionado.
Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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