The Senate on July 9 confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by a 71-26 vote, HousingWire reported.
Castro will assume the post vacated by Shaun Donovan, who is the new director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
President Obama applauded the Senate’s approval of his nominee, noting, “Julian is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods,” HousingWire reported.
Among those voting against Castro’s confirmation was Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who, along with Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., co-sponsored housing finance reform legislation that would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over five years. That legislation is still under Senate consideration.
Castro’s nomination hearings did not proceed without some difficulty, HousingWire reported. Some senators expressed concern about a HUD inspector general report that alleged Castro, as mayor of San Antonio, had mismanaged millions in taxpayer funds designated for affordable housing programs.
Analysts at investment bank Compass Point said of Castro’s confirmation, “Our conversations lead us to believe that Castro is unlikely to deviate materially from the existing Federal Housing Administration single-family strategy. The potential impact of the leadership change at HUD is admittedly an unknown at this junction but there is little reason — either political or fundamental — to expect a MIP reduction prior to 2015,” HousingWire reported.