Earlier this year, President Obama made clear that to out-innovate our global competitors and win the future requires us to transform government itself. That’s why the President directed all federal agencies to begin an unprecedented government-wide review of rules and regulations in order to remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or in conflict with other rules, with the goal of building a system that meets the needs of the 21st century – simpler and smarter, while still protecting the health and safety of the American people in a pragmatic and cost-effective way.
As General Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I’m proud to say that under the leadership of Secretary Shaun Donovan my agency has responded to the President’s call by streamlining or adding flexibility to 20 agency rules we found to be burdensome to small businesses and economic growth – continuing a process that began from the moment the Obama Administration took office.
To bring new capital and a new sense of discipline that extends from the way affordable housing is financed to the way it is managed, we’ve streamlined mixed-finance requirements and provided additional flexibility to public, senior and disabled housing. These changes build on the comprehensive rental housing preservation strategy HUD unveiled in our Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal.
- To keep President Obama’s historic commitment to end homelessness, we’re updating our regulations to ensure that that all of HUD’s homelessness programs are operating from the same playbook – so that we can keep realizing savings for taxpayers in the form of fewer ambulance and police calls and unnecessary visits to the emergency room.
- To ensure we are supporting all of America’s most underserved communities, particularly rural communities, we’re allowing direct lending institutions for the Farm Credit System to participate in Federal Housing Administration programs and streamlining reporting requirements for small FHA-approved lenders.
- Finally, to help communities build new affordable homes and rehabilitate existing properties, we’re modernizing performance standards for the HOME program, which is the largest federal block grant designed exclusively to produce affordable housing for low-income families. These steps include stronger standards for developers, stronger underwriting requirements and additional expenditure deadlines.
All this work is part of HUD’s broader commitment to keep doing what works, and stop doing what doesn’t. To move past the old debates of big government versus small government, and instead do something we can all agree on: provide smarter government for the American people.
That is what the American people expect. That is what it is going to take to keep our economy growing – and that is what is going to take to win the future.
You can read HUD’s plan, and the reform plans of every other federal agency, here: www.whitehouse.gov/regulatoryreform