Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has joined Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, in co-sponsoring a Federal Housing Administration reform bill that the Bush administration wants to pass this year.The FHA reform package represents the Department of Housing and Urban Development's efforts to modernize the FHA program, provide safer and lower-cost loan products for subprime borrowers, and gain back market share for the 70-year-old single-family mortgage insurance program. The FHA reform bill (H.R. 5121) would substantially increase FHA loan limits and eliminate a 3% downpayment calculation so that borrowers could get a zero-down FHA loan or make a downpayment to reduce their insurance premiums under a new risk-based premium structure. The reform package also includes enhancements to the FHA's condominium and reverse-mortgage programs. And it revamps the manufactured housing program so that the FHA can provide co-insurance on individual "home-only" MH loans. Congressman Ney chairs the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing, and Rep. Waters is the ranking Democrat on the panel. Reps. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio, have also signed up as co-sponsors.

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