Senate Passes American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Bill

December 7, 2000

Sent to White House

H.R. 5640, American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act was approved by the Senate today and sent to the White House for the President?s signature.

The bill, which the House passed by voice vote Tuesday, includes housing legislation authored by Rep. Rick A. Lazio (R-NY), Chairman of the House Housing Subcommittee.

H.R. 5640 is the culmination of three and a half years of discussions with consumers, housing and industry advocates, and public policy makers.

Among the bill?s provisions is authority for local housing officials to allow families receiving Federal rental assistance to aggregate up to a year?s worth of assistance to use toward downpayment and closing costs in the purchase of a home. Recent studies have shown that downpayment costs are among the most significant barriers to homeownership. Three million families receive Federal rental assistance under the Department of Housing and Urban Development?s "Section 8" voucher program.

"Our proposal builds on a successful nonprofit demonstration project in my home district on Long Island to help families build personal equity and a sense of pride" Lazio stated. "The family home is where we teach our children right from wrong, our sanctuary from the rush of the outside world, and where we draw strength for the pursuits of life."

The bill also includes provisions to assist elderly Americans and individuals with disabilities immensely through construction and financing of more facilities for these populations. The legislation provides additional housing opportunities for residents of rural America, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, and updates the Federal manufactured housing regulatory regime to improve consumer protection and safety.

Banking sections of the bill include a number of regulatory relief and agency streamlining provisions. In addition, the bill would continue some 45 reporting requirements from Executive Branch and bank regulatory agencies, including the regular reports to Congress by the Federal Reserve Board of the conduct of monetary policy.

Finally, the bill increases the annual salaries of the members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, with the Chairman?s salary being raised to the level of Cabinet Secretaries, currently $157,000 and the other Governors to the level of Deputy Secretaries, currently $141,300.

Source: Senate Banking Committee

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