The Department of Housing and Urban Development got the cold shoulder from a key politician on Tuesday as the agency tried to defend its revamping of the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act.Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., chairman of the House Small Business Committee, was miffed that acting HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson did not appear before his committee Tuesday and chose instead to send Assistant Secretary John Weicher. Rep. Manzullo would not allow Mr. Weicher to testify at all, but agreed to place his testimony into the record. In his prepared testimony, Mr. Weicher says HUD's final RESPA rule will not disadvantage mortgage brokers, Realtors, title companies, and other small businesses that provide settlement services. Mr. Weicher's remarks were the first by a HUD official regarding the agency's as-yet-unseen version of RESPA reform. The rule is under review by the Office of Management and Budget. Rep. Manzullo, who is no fan of RESPA reform, said at the hearing that HUD is trying to fix a problem that does not exist, urging the agency to "deep six" its proposal. At the hearing, several trade groups urged HUD to reissue the rule for another round of comments.

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