Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., says he could not support the confirmation of Alphonso Jackson to be the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development if HUD continues to move ahead with its Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule.HUD "is thumbing its nose at Congress," Sen. Allard said at Mr. Jackson's confirmation hearing. His strong statement is expected to send a signal to the White House that many members of the Senate Banking Committee want HUD to re-propose the rule for another comment period. President Bush supports RESPA reform, but Sen. Allard maintained that there is no support in Congress for the RESPA rule. In addition, industry and consumer groups are opposed to the rule, which is supposed to simplify the mortgage process and reduce settlement costs. Key members of Congress, the industry, and consumers have been urging HUD for the past six months to re-propose the rule so they can review it one more time before it is finalized. The chairman of the Senate housing subcommittee said HUD is "blatantly disregarding clear congressional direction" by pressing ahead with a final RESPA rule. "I hear your concerns," Mr. Jackson told Sen. Allard.

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