The Senate Banking Committee will consider the nomination of Alphonso Jackson to be the new secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Feb. 26, and the anticipated issuance of a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act rule is expected to be a hot topic at the hearing.Sources are telling MortgageWire that the acting HUD secretary is getting an "earful" about the RESPA rule during his private visits with senators who will be voting on his confirmation. The latest rumors indicated that HUD will issue a final RESPA rule after the full Senate confirms Mr. Jackson, which is expected to be fairly soon. President Bush supports RESPA reform, which is supposed to simplify the mortgage process and reduce settlement costs, and it is a done deal. But industry opponents are still hoping Jackson's confirmation hearing will be so contentious that it will force HUD to re-propose the rule for another round of public comments. Mr. Jackson served as deputy secretary under former Secretary Mel Martinez, who resigned in December to run for the U.S. Senate in Florida.

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