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Mark Calabria to serve as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence

Long-time housing reform advocate joins Pence's staff

Mark Calabria, a long-time housing reform advocate, will serve as the chief economist to Vice President Mike Pence, according to a report from Politco’s Lorraine Woellert.

Calabria previously served as the director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, a think tank that is “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.”

Before joining the Cato Institute in 2009, Calabria worked on Capitol Hill as a member of the senior professional staff of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

In that position, Calabria focused on issues related to housing, mortgage finance, economics, banking and insurance for Ranking Member Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama.

Earlier in his career, Calabria also served as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Calabria also held positions at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors.

In his role within Pence’s office, Calabria could play a big role and be a sizable voice for housing finance reform.

From Woellert’s report:

(Calabria) gives President Donald Trump's White House "a voice around the table that will give them their philosophical true North,” said Jim Parrott, a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council.

He takes on a role similar to the one held by Jared Bernstein, who served as chief economist to former Vice President Joe Biden. Bernstein was a strong voice and public face for the Obama administration, speaking frequently on employment, economic inequality and the middle class.

“Bernstein was in exactly the same role and was pretty influential in our world,” said Parrott. “He played the role on our team of representing an economist version of Biden.”

As Woellert notes, Calabria has spoken about housing finance reform in many forms, including on the pages of HousingWire, in his career.

Woellert also points to a blog posted this week by Calabria, found here, where he addresses the Mortgage Bankers Association’s plans for the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And now, Calabria will bring his points of view to Pence’s staff, perhaps another indication that reforming the government-sponsored enterprises is indeed high on the Trump administration’s to-do list.

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