Senate Approves Montgomery HUD Nomination; Dana Wade FHA Nomination Next Up

It seemed like it took forever—and in political terms, seven months feels like forever—but Brian Montgomery is finally, officially, HUD Deputy Secretary.

Brian Montgomery

The Senate approved Montgomery’s nomination Tuesday by unanimous consent. The vote capped months of limbo in which Montgomery—who enjoyed broad, bipartisan support from the moment the Trump Administration nominated him in October and seemed set for easy approval—got waylaid by the Trump impeachment trial and legislative fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate also began consideration of Dana Wade’s nomination as FHA Commissioner yesterday.

Montgomery—who is slated to speak at MBA LIVE: State of the Industry next Tuesday, May 19 ( now assumes the number-two slot at HUD, responsible for day-to-day operations of the agency and will advise and assist Secretary Ben Carson in leading the Department’s nearly 8,000 employees.

“Brian has done an exemplary job both leading FHA and performing the additional duties of the Deputy Secretary since January 2019,” Carson said in a statement. “During this unprecedented pandemic, he has been by my side every step of the way as we have implemented policies to protect Americans across the country. As the head of FHA, Brian has helped HUD relieve the burden on renters and homeowners experiencing financial hardship, and to ensure no one loses their home as a result of this national health and economic emergency. The IT modernization effort underway at FHA under his stewardship has been central to our ability to continue to serve as a source of strength to the housing market. I am thrilled that the Senate agrees that he will be an excellent Deputy Secretary.”

“We will continue to do everything possible to protect our country’s most vulnerable populations – including the homeless, the elderly and many others with compromised health,” Montgomery said. “We will provide critical support to low-income renters in public housing, seniors, people with disabilities and with AIDS, among others, including homeowners under stress at this time and those hoping to make it into a decent, safe, affordable home. I am proud to help lead the Department and humbled to be able to offer all that I can to our endeavors, to deliver it more effectively, efficiently and with the highest integrity on behalf of American taxpayers.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association strongly supported Montgomery’s nomination. MBA President and CEO Robert D. Broeksmit, CMB, issued a statement commending the Senate approval.

“Deputy Secretary Montgomery’s extensive experience in housing and at HUD will undoubtedly serve him well as he assists Secretary Carson in the development of solutions that will help address the nation’s top housing issues during the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond,” Broeksmit said. “As FHA Commissioner, Brian made significant strides to help improve housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and renters alike, and we look forward to seeing him continue similar efforts as Deputy Secretary.”

MBA and other industry trade groups sent no fewer than four letters to Capitol Hill over the past seven months urging Senate confirmation. The Senate Banking Committee approved Montgomery by a 20-5 vote in December.

“Mr. Montgomery’s long and comprehensive experience at HUD will greatly benefit the administration of the Department,” one MBA letter said. “While serving as Federal Housing Administration Commissioner from 2005 to mid-2009 – under both the George W. Bush and Obama Administrations – Mr. Montgomery realized the immense counter-cyclical benefits that FHA can provide in the middle of the housing crisis. He also led HUD’s response to Hurricane Katrina and chaired the Hurricane Recovery and Response Center at HUD headquarters.”

Dana Wade

A vote on Montgomery’s nomination was slated to take place on the Senate floor when Congress reconvened in January, but the Trump impeachment trial put all nominations on hold. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit with full force, shifting the Senate’s focus to economic stimulus packages.

With the next stimulus package possibly weeks away—and with plenty of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans ahead—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would make this week a priority for moving forward with a backlog of nominations. Montgomery’s was among the first on the Senate agenda.

Wade’s nomination to replace Montgomery as FHA Commissioner is scheduled for the Senate floor this week. Broeksmit urged the Senate to act quickly. “With [Montgomery’s] confirmation complete, we hope the Senate will now quickly confirm the nomination of Dana Wade to replace him as FHA Commissioner. MBA looks forward to continuing our partnership with Secretary Carson, Deputy Secretary Montgomery and the team at HUD as we work to create sensible solutions for the housing market and the overall economy.”.

MBA, in a May 4 letter, urged approval of Wade’s nomination “Ms. Wade’s extensive background and knowledge of HUD and the housing market will help guide FHA to support access to sustainable credit and affordable housing, as well as maintain the critical multifamily public-private partnership,” Broeksmit wrote.