Senators Urged to Confirm President's Finance Board

WASHINGTON - Top administration officials are urging the Senate Banking Committee to confirm President Bush's nominees to the Federal Housing Finance Board before their terms expire in December.

President Bush installed the current board last December by invoking his power to make appointments while Congress is in recess.

The part-time board oversees the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Banking committee Chairman Donald W. Riegle, D-Mich., has refused to hold confirmation hearings unless the board members are willing to serve full-time.

Plaudits from Brady

Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady praised the board in a Sept. 12 letter to Sen. Riegle, saying it did "an excellent job ... during a period of considerable stress" on the Home Loan Bank System.

The letter was also signed by L. William Seidman, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; T. Timothy Ryan, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision; and Jack Kemp, secretary of housing and urban development.

Under the Finance Board's oversight, the Home Loan banks have recruited 350 commercial bank members and launched a subsidy program for affordable housing loans.

"Unless the committee acts, this momentum will be disrupted," the regulators wrote.

On the Shelf

The nominations - including that of Finance Board Chairman Daniel F. Evans Jr. - have languished at the Senate Banking Committee since April 1990 because of infighting over whether the board should serve full or part time.

The Bush administration wants a part-time board.

House Banking Committee Chairman Henry Gonzalez, D.-Tex., is brokering a compromise that would permit the board members to serve part time for another year or two, and then be replaced by full-time members.

PHOTO : Daniel F. Evans Jr. Chairman of part-time board

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