WASHINGTON - A House Appropriations subcommittee voted yesterday to give the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight $22 million for its 2001 budget - $4.47 million less than requested.

Armando Falcon, director of the agency, which regulates the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said in a statement that the decision "strikes at the heart of our ability to fulfill our Congressional mission" and said that it was proof that the agency should be removed from the appropriations process.

Mr. Falcon, whose agency is funded through assessments on Fannie and Freddie as opposed to taxpayer money, implied that the budget decision may have been influenced by "the political maneuverings of the entities we regulate." Fannie Mae's lobbying efforts against a bill that would tighten their regulation have also come under attack recently.

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