A top Department of Housing and Urban Development official agreed during congressional testimony Feb. 6 that a legislative proposal to get Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to contribute $500 million toward affordable housing would help with the rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast states.HUD Deputy Secretary Roy Bernardi said "yes" he would support the additional resources provided by a GSE affordable housing fund, in response to persistent questioning by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. Mr. Bernardi insisted that he does not make housing policy for the Bush administration. But Rep. Frank took it as an endorsement for his proposal to create a GSE affordable housing fund that would funnel the first year's contributions by the two government-sponsored enterprises to rebuilding affordable rental housing destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Chairman Frank and other Democrats argue that the GSE affordable housing fund is an essential part of a bill to strengthen the regulation of Fannie and Freddie. The Bush administration has softened its opposition to the AH fund over the past year.

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