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Local Democrats Cheer HUD Secretary’s Exit

By Sewell Chan

March 31, 2008

Among New York politicians, there was little sympathy over the resignation of Alphonso R. Jackson as the secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is the most senior New York City member on the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, said in a statement:

“Throughout Secretary Jackson’s tenure, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been asleep at the switch. Programs of vital importance to New Yorkers, including Section 8 and Community Development Block Grants, have been continuously slashed, placing thousands of New York families in jeopardy.

Given the housing crisis, HUD needs a strong leader who can live up to the pressing responsibilities of the agency and will put the issues ahead of political partisanship. New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has tried to make the mortgage crisis a centerpiece of her campaign platform as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president, said in a statement:

“Secretary Jackson’s resignation ends a tenure at HUD marked by an indifference to Congressional oversight powers, cronyism, and corrupt contracting practices that have no place in our government. Yet while Secretary Jackson’s resignation is appropriate, it does nothing to address the Bush Administration’s wait-and-don’t-see posture to our nation’s housing crisis, which is threatening to drive our economy into a painful recession.

Now is the time for immediate action, not more half-measures and white papers. While I appreciate the Administration’s willingness to acknowledge the need for more regulation of our financial markets, we cannot let a discussion about rearranging the regulatory deck chairs divert us from the fact that our housing and credit markets are in crisis, and are sinking deeper every day that we fail to take aggressive action.

That’s why today I am outlining immediate steps we can take to shore up the housing and credit markets, restore confidence in our regulatory infrastructure, and keep millions of families in their homes. These include smart, near-term regulatory changes that are calibrated to the actual crisis we face. And they include aggressive actions to help restructure at-risk mortgages and keep millions of families in their homes.”