Hoyer Expects House to Focus on Economy

Posted April 1, 2008 at 11:51am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) today signaled that the economy will be the main focus of House action in the coming weeks, in addition to bringing the Iraq War supplemental bill to the floor later this month.

“We will be very focused on the economy as we move forward,” with specific attention to the housing sector, Hoyer told reporters.

Other matters expected to surface during this eight-week work period include reconciling the House-Senate budget resolutions that passed last month, an overhaul of the farm bill and a conference deal on the Higher Education Act, which Hoyer said he hoped will happen by the end of April.

The Majority Leader pointed to a mix of economic proposals likely to emerge in the coming weeks, including draft legislation by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would allow the Federal Housing Administration to guarantee $300 billion in refinanced mortgages that have been significantly written down by mortgage holders and lenders. In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee is working on housing tax measures and House-Senate negotiations are continuing on FHA modernization, Hoyer said.

The Democrat said he hoped to bring up the war supplemental bill in late April or early May, and that there “may well be” amendments attached to it aimed at changing the course in Iraq.

Hoyer said that he, for one, is of the mindset that “funding and policy ought not to be married,” referring to his desire for a change of direction in Iraq while continuing to fund the troops being deployed.