Ben Carson pledges to “really examine” latest FHA mortgage insurance premium cut

Confirms that Trump team was not consulted on Obama administration’s decision

Earlier this week, Julián Castro, the outgoing Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told reporters that he does not expect the incoming Trump administration to repeal HUD’s decision to cut Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums.

The decision to cut, made in the last days Obama administration, rankled some Republicans, including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who said that the FHA premium cut is a “parting gift” from the Obama administration and accused Democrats of “playing politics” with “cynical, surprise 11th hour rule changes.”

On Thursday, Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead HUD appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and was asked about what the incoming Trump administration plans to do about the Obama administration’s “parting gift.”

Carson told the committee members that if confirmed, he plans to “really examine” the FHA premium cut and said that he planned to discuss it with a number of interested parties before determining a course of action.

Carson also confirmed that the Obama administration did not consult with the Trump administration about the premium cut prior to announcing it, which Castro also stated earlier this week.

“I cannot say that there was a briefing on this particular decision,” Castro told reporters earlier this week. “As you know, this is not public information, this is market sensitive information. And so my understanding is that they (the Trump administration) were given a heads up right before we went public with it this morning.”

When asked to characterize his view of the Obama administration’s announcement and the timing of it, Carson shared Hensarling’s sentiments.

“I was surprised to see something like this done on the way out,” Carson said told the committee on Thursday.

Whether or not the Trump administration plans to undo the cut though, is apparently a question for another time.

(Editor's note: Stay tuned to HousingWire for full coverage of Carson's confirmation hearing.)

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