Government Lending

Julia Gordon confirmed as new FHA commissioner

After a contentious confirmation process, Gordon is confirmed in a 50-51 vote

The U.S. Senate confirmed Julia Gordon on Wednesday evening to serve as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The position is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Gordon, who most recently stepped down from her role as president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, was narrowly confirmed to be the FHA commissioner. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote, breaking a 50-50 tie.

Her confirmation brings an end to a long and tumultuous confirmation process.

There was little Senate discussion before the vote. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, voiced his support. And Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, took the opportunity to criticize Gordon for retweeting content that he labeled as being “anti-police.”

“Ms. Gordon has a history of troubling statements denigrating the police,” Toomey declared on the Senate floor. “Among other things, she retweeted an inflammatory post that described police officers as “the people killing us.’”

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge cheered the confirmation of Gordon.

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“Julia is a respected leader with decades of experience working to create more vibrant and equitable communities,” said Fudge. “I thank the Senate for confirming Julia, and I look forward to working with her to expand access to safe, affordable, and sustainable housing.”

Dave Stevens, consultant and former FHA commissioner, applauded the Senate for “finally” confirming Gordon and said that this has been long overdue.

“I have known Julia for years and found her to be someone who acts with great integrity and one who has a deep understanding of the FHA and the key issues and priorities facing housing,” said Stevens. “I look forward to seeing Julia hit the ground running, bringing stability to this critical housing administration.”

Scott Olson, executive director at the Community Home Lenders Association, said that it is “high time” that the Senate approve Gordon.

“FHA has been without a commissioner far too long and Ms. Gordon is particularly well qualified to fill that role,” he said.

The commissioner position has sat vacant since early 2021 after predecessor Dana Wade, who served as FHA commissioner from July 2020 to March 2021, resigned.

In June 2021, President Biden nominated Julia Gordon to head the FHA, but the confirmation process experienced delays. Senate Republicans opposed Gordon’s nomination from the outset, raising questions about tweets published in 2020 criticizing the police.

Senate Republicans specifically pointed out that Gordon retweeted a thread posted by the National Community Stabilization Trust that proclaimed the organization’s solidarity with those “who seek to dismantle four hundred years of personal and structural racism.”

Senate Republicans argued that these types of statements “call into question [her] fitness to serve in a senior position in the federal government.”

Gordon has close to two decades of professional experience in housing, both in the public sector and at nonprofit organizations. 

According to her LinkedIn profile, Gordon had stints at the Center for Responsible Learning from 2007 to 2011, at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) from 2011 to 2012, and at the Center for American Progress from 2012 to 2015.

Industry insiders have said that her varied experience and background as an attorney will make her particularly qualified in addressing long-standing and acute challenges facing the FHA, which oversees $1.2 trillion in single-family forward and reverse mortgages.

Fair housing advocates and industry consultants have called for lowering the fees the FHA charges borrowers and for revisions of the FHA handbook.

Systemic problems at the FHA include uncompetitive pay, a lengthy hiring process and an imminent wave of retirements, although the FHA got a modest budget boost for payroll and expenses.

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