President George Bush seems be turning his back on Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act reform in the face of stiff opposition to the administration's proposed RESPA rule.The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Monday (March 15) it has postponed issuing the RESPA rule for 30 days, and the President did not mention RESPA reform at a homeownership event in Ardmore, Pa. A few months ago, the President told a New Hampshire audience that HUD is working on simplifying mortgage contracts so they are not so intimidating to first-time homebuyers. At a homeownership event on Monday, the President stressed how effective housing counseling is helping "people get beyond the fear of signing a contract full of small print." President Bush noted that HUD provides funds from counseling, but he did not mention that HUD is working on RESPA reform. The President also called on the Senate to act quickly and confirm Alphonso Jackson to be the new HUD secretary. However, Senator Wayne Allard, R-Colo., is threatening to hold up Mr. Jackson's confirmation unless HUD abandons its plans to issue a final RESPA rule and re-issues the rule for another round of public comments.

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