Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Brian Montgomery chided the Senate at the National Association of Realtors' convention in Las Vegas for moving too slowly on legislation that would modernize his agency.The Senate Banking Committee cleared its version of FHA reform legislation in mid-September -- a day after the full House approved its bill -- but the committee chairman and presidential candidate, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., didn't place the measure into the Senate hopper until Nov 13. "The time to move [FHA reform legislation] was last year," Mr. Montgomery said, "but we can still have a profound impact if we act this year." Noting that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been asking Congress to revamp and revitalize some of the FHA's key programs for nearly two years, the commissioner said lawmakers could have spared a lot of homeowners "a lot of misery" had they already acted to lower FHA downpayment requirements and raise loan limits. The NAR and other advocates of FHA reform are hoping the full Senate will act before Congress quits for the holiday season in early December. And if it does, NAR lobbyists may try to persuade lawmakers to attach a rider that would enhance regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. GSE reform legislation is also stalled in the Senate.

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