Dodd Retains Position, Vows to Focus on Housing Needs

As President-elect Barack Obama begins his transition into the White House, the usual amount of shuffling is taking place within governmental staff. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn. has said he will stay on as chairman in the 111th Congress and work with ranking member Richard Shelby, R-Ala. and the new Obama Administration “to build an economy that is strong and in which every American has the opportunity to succeed.” Of the issues Dodd said the committee will focus on, “extensive” oversight on Obama’s implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act ranked a clear priority. A more competitive financial architecture, strengthened protection for consumers in mortgage and credit card lending procedures and a renewed focus on housing needs also received attention in the chairman’s announcement. Dodd also said he plans to craft a transit bill to address the national problems of low economic growth, high gas prices and pollution and global warming. “I agree with President-elect Obama – this is a defining moment in our history,” Dodd said in a statement Thursday. “With the work this committee will do in the coming weeks and months, I intend to help us seize this moment to put our nation on a more secure and prosperous path.” Not all government officials share Dodd’s committment to an Obama Administration. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox has said he will step down at the end of the Bush Administration, making room for several likely candidates being discussed in Washington, according to a Friday report by the Wall Street Journal. Former SEC commissioner Harvey Goldschmid and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations attorney Damon Silvers are among the names exchanged in Washington talks, according to the Journal. Obama has been busy in the days since his election Tuesday, having already picked out two Bill Clinton administration veterans. His choices of former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta to oversee Obama’s transition, along with former Clinton policy advisor Representative Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill. “are being hailed by some as the right picks for the jobs and derided by others as more of the same,” according to an ABC News report Friday. “Barack Obama doesn’t want to make the same mistakes Clinton made by not having enough experienced people on board,” former Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clarke told ABC News. “Obama needs seasoned hands who know Washington. On the other hand…it is still early and there are more choices to make. People are going to be watching very carefully because it’s difficult to imagine a more partisan choice than Rahm Emanual.” Several media outlets have already cited Emauel as playing up his forthcoming bi-partisan efforts. “Now is a time for unity,” Emanuel said, according to a New York Times report Thursday. “I will do everything in my power to help [Obama] stitch together the frayed fabric of our politics, and help summon Americans of both parties to unite in common purpose.” Obama said he chose Emanuel for his knack of “getting things done,” according to the Times. And some sources say that’s exactly what Obama needs right now: people who will act quickly to get the job done. Obama needs to act quickly, too, according to one economist who said of particular import is the appointment of a new secretary to the U.S. Treasury Department. “There’s no time to waste at this point,” economist Uwe Parpart told CNBC in a television interview Wednesday. “There are three favorite candidates: Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman…Timothy Geithner, who is the president of the New York Fed at the moment and Larry Summers…a Clinton Treasury secretary.” It’s unclear now how many more staff changes will take place before Obama takes office, or how those staff appointments will eventually effect the U.S. housing industry. Editor’s note: Housing Wire has posted an online survey to gauge how readers believe the housing industry landscape might change when Obama takes office. Participate in the survey and let us know how you think the Obama Administration will affect the U.S. housing industry. Write to Diana Golobay at

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