Share House Financial Services Committee HUD Julián Castro 2015-02-09 Seth Welborn HUD Secretary Prepares to Meet House Committee HUD Secretary Julian Castro is scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time.This will be the first time Castro has testified before Congress since being named HUD Secretary in July 2014. In recent public appearances, such as a speech at the National Press Club and in a fireside chat-style meeting last month, Castro has touted 2015 as a “year of housing opportunity.”Among the topics Castro is expected to answer questions about before the committee are the budget of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and President Obama’s announcement last month that the FHA would be lowering its annual mortgage insurance premiums by 50 basis points down to 0.85 percent in order to make homeownership affordable for first-time buyers. HUD and FHA estimate that the lowering of the premiums will save homebuyers about $900 per year in mortgage payments.The administration estimates that the lowering of the premiums will result in 250,000 new homebuyers over the next three years. FHA’s value has increased by $21 billion in the last two years due to aggressive and necessary action taken in the last six years, according to HUD, and is on a strong trajectory.While the move of lowering the insurance premiums has been praised by Democrats as a way to increase homeownership among creditworthy borrowers, it has drawn criticism from GOP lawmakers who say the move puts taxpayers at risk and will eventually lead to a repeat of the 2008 mortgage meltdown.”The President’s decision reflects a race to the bottom between the FHA and the GSEs in which the private sector is crowded out and taxpayers are left holding the bag,” said Representative Ed Royce (R-California), a member of the House Financial Services Committee who will be questioning Castro on Wednesday. “The financial crisis is proof positive that an increased government presence in housing distorts the market and promotes the very boom-and-bust cycle we are trying to avoid.”Castro defended the lowering of the insurance premiums, however.”A few have even suggested that this is a return to the mania that fueled the crisis,” Castro said in his speech at the National Press Club last month. “It’s not. Our nation is smart enough to heed the lessons of the past without forsaking our future. The answer isn’t to deny responsible Americans homeownership—it’s to do it right.”Castro will likely face questions regarding HUD’s Blueprint for Credit Access. Critics claim that opening up mortgages to a larger pool of borrowers will degrade loan quality, which Castro says will not happen.”Policies have fundamentally changed to create safeguards so that we can offer the opportunity to own a home for people who are ready and responsible to buy,” he said.Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt testified before the committee on January 28 and faced tough questioning from Republican lawmakers on recent housing policies FHFA has enacted. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News February 9, 2015 448 Views
Looking for that last minute gift but you’re too busy running around to hit the high street?If you’re catching a flight this festive season, consider picking up a few presents in Duty Free at the airport. Kill a few Christmas robins with one Santa-shaped stone and finish off your last-minute gift shopping, as well as picking up a few souvenirs from your trip. This way you’ll be free to fly home, having made sure those stockings are well and truly stuffed come Christmas Eve. Let Skyscanner make Christmas simple for you, with 10 of the best Christmas present ideas for friends and loved ones that you can buy at the airport:1. PerfumeBuy that special someone their favourite designer fragrance for a fraction of the price at the airport. While you may have to shop around for a bargain, some signature scents often run on special offer and many Duty Free outlets sell limited edition gift sets that you won’t find anywhere else. Just be careful you don’t spend too long spritzing and sampling all of the perfumes on offer and miss your flight! 2. TobleroneIt’s the famous triangle-shaped chocolate treat found stacked on shelves in Duty Free all around the world. It’s also proven to be Dads’ favourite. So hit that sweet spot and pick up a stick, available in milk, dark and white chocolate. Just try not to finish the bar before you get home to wrap it up and pop it under the tree.Read more: 5 devilishly delicious holiday destinatons for chocoholics 5. A bookFor the bookworm in the family, give them something from their favourite author, or maybe broaden their horizons with the latest international bestseller. Find a selection of books at the airport to suit everyone’s literary tastes, from the latest chick lit to Nobel Prize-winning words. It may seem a little retro, what with e-readers and apps, but books are perfect for frequent travellers with a habit of forgetting chargers. 4. A handbagYou can never have enough of them. Clutch, tote or straight up shoulder, whatever their preferred style, be sure to bag a bargain on designer handbags and purses at the airport. This is the perfect place to pick up some luxury leather that they’re bound to love. 9. A bottle of wineKnow someone who’s something of a wine connoisseur? The airport is a good place to pick up international wines that may not be available at your local supermarket. Bottles are often on offer, usually as a multi-buy deal, so you don’t have to turn up at family lunch empty-handed and you’ll still have plenty left to help you recover from the whole affair come Boxing Day. Or if you need something a little stronger, how about a good single malt whisky? Related13 ways to be a Christmas travel heroFind out how to be a travelling Christmas angel this festive season.Banned on board: Christmas gifts you can’t take on a flightTis the season to visit a Christmas market, call on far-flung relatives, or maybe even fly somewhere a little bit warmer. But, you might want to make sure that cabin baggage restrictions and customs regulations don’t ruin Christmas. Here’s a complete guide to what Christmas items are banned on board…10 tips for stress-free Christmas travelGet peace on Earth and make your trip easier with these top tips on chilled out Christmas travel. 3. A watchYou may not be able to turn the clock back and give you more shopping time before Santa arrives, but you can pick up some wrist bling as a great Christmas gift at the airport. Find a fashionable watch in Dubai’s Duty Free store, the largest in the world. Elegant or purely practical, give someone this timeless gift for a cool Yule. 10. A cuddly toyMelt hearts with a soft toy stocking filler. Kids, old and young, can’t resist the fluffy charms of a teddy bear, especially one dressed as Santa, an elf, or something equally seasonal. Alternatively, you could always go for an airline mascot toy as a trip gift for someone small. 7. Fridge magnetsCapture the essence of your destination with a colourful piece of plastic that you can stick on your white appliances. Fridge magnets make lovely little stocking fillers and show someone that you thought about them while you were away (albeit at the very last minute while you were rushing to make your flight home). Every time they look at it they’ll be reminded of your thoughtfulness, before scowling at the gas bill pinned to the fridge below it. Buying gifts at the airport saves you time and money, which may make you feel like a Christmas hero. But who makes your far-flung adventures truly memorable? Is there anyone who has made your travel experience as stress-free as possible? If so, nominate them for Skyscanner’s Christmas Heroes competition and they could win the trip of a lifetime!For more details on how to enter, click here.If you liked reading this, hopefully you’ll like these:13 ways to be a Christmas travel hero10 tips for stress-free Christmas travelReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 6. A tabletLet loved ones update their Facebook status or search for their holiday accommodation using Skyscanner on the move, with a handy tablet. Look out for the latest models and grab a great deal if you’re travelling through Singapore or Hong Kong airport, both considered cities on the cutting edge of technological innovation. A great present for both self-confessed tech-lovers and anyone wanting to get Granny connected to the 21st century.Read more: 9 gadgets that will revolutionise the way you travel 8. Sexy lingerieWant to keep the ‘va va voom’ going after your trip ends? Buy some sexy lingerie for your holiday hottie and hopefully it won’t be the only thing they’ll be unwrapping this Christmas. Victoria’s Secret is a popular lingerie store found in most international airports. Pair with a sprig of mistletoe for some saucy seasonal fun.