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Inside Washington (01/25/2008)
* WASHINGTON (1/28/08)—The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has announced a Jan. 31 hearing on “Strengthening our Economy: Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Preservation.” A witness list has not yet been made publicly available … * WASHINGTON (1/28/08)--After spending the last year focusing on his presidential campaign, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has unveiled his 2008 agenda (American Banker Jan. 24). Dodd plans to tackle mortgage reform, the credit crisis, government-sponsored enterprise reform, industrial loan companies and regulation for hedge funds. Dodd also said he wants to take the lead in developing short- and long-term economic stimulus proposals for the subprime mortgage crisis. He also is working on a plan that would create a government corporation to purchase delinquent mortgages at discounted values. The discounts would be passed along to homeowners through more affordable mortgages. The program would receive funding of $10 billion to $20 billion and the loans would consist of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/08)--Home Depot has decided to drop its bid to buy EnerBank USA, a Salt Lake City industrial loan company (ILC). Home Depot applied for the ILC in May 2006, but its application was frozen in two moratoriums after a debate over ILC ownership (American Banker Jan. 25). If the Home Depot application had been approved, the ILC ownership issue would likely come up in the Senate again, according to George Sutton, a lawyer and former financial institutions commissioner. The second application freeze expires this week. Other pending ILC applications include Blackstone Group and Chrysler Financial ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/08)--President Bush’s plan to stimulate the economy by sending checks to households could put stress on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and delay tax rebates (The New York Times Jan. 25). Under Bush’s plan, the checks would be sent out two months after he authorizes the payments, with the first checks scheduled to arrive in early May. But the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation noted that the checks could snag the tax-filing season and delay distribution until June. The checks will be based on income and other factors, and many may receive checks who don’t owe income tax. The IRS also must update outdated computer systems as the estimated 135 million tax returns arrive now and through April 15. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday he didn’t think the payments would affect the tax rebates ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/08)--House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) released a statement regarding legislation passed by the House on environmental standards for new public housing in the U.S. ... * WASHINGTON (1/28/08)--Anthony W. Ryan, Treasury assistant secretary for financial markets, will speak at the World Research Group’s annual conference on market liquidity in New York City today. His speech will focus on the importance of liquidity in capital markets and risk management ...


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