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Letters, statements, exhibits, etc.—Continued
Letter enclosing section of proposed housing code, responsi-
Pittsburgh Housing Association, John C. R. Kelly, president: Tele-
Housing credit facilities principles and objectives.
Richmond, Calif.: Proposal in connection with amendment.
Tucker, Raymond R., mayor, St. Louis, Mo.: Letter to Senator
United States Conference of Mayors, John P. Robin:
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Omar B. Ketchum,
director, national legislative service: Letter opposing transfer of
functions from VA to HHFA.-
Washington, D. C., Housing Association, Campbell C. Johnson, presi-
dent: Letter to chairman enclosing resolution.,
HOUSING ACT OF 1954
TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 1954
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.O. The committee met, pursuant to call, in room P-63, United States Capitol, at 2 p. m., Senator Homer E. Capehart, chairman, presiding.
Present: Senators Capehart, Bricker, Ives, Bennett, Beall, Maybank, Robertson, Sparkman, Frear, Douglas, and Lehman.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please to come to order.
I would like to read a statement, and then we will proceed with the hearing.
There is no more important legislation pending before the Congress than the Housing Act of 1954. This is true in terms of better living for millions of Americans, in terms of maintaining a high level of economic activity in this period of economic transition from what is substantially a wartime economy to what we expect to be a predominantly peacetime economy, in terms of establishing a basic housing policy for America for years to come.
The bill is a very long and a very complicated one. It makes many fundamental changes in existing law. It raises many very basic economic, social, and political questions. There is much in this bill that I approve of, but there is much in it, which, frankly, I have not made up my mind about, and in saying this I believe I speak for all members of the committee.
There have been few bills that have been presented to the Congress, where the hearings will play such an important role in determining the fate of the bill
and its many provisions. Speaking for myself, I shall attempt to approach the problems that are presented by this legislation with great objectivity. I shall seek out the facts, the motivation, the reasons and the objectives that are the basis for the various provisions, amendments to them, or the objections to them.
The fundamental question that I shall raise with respect to all the provisions, and the criterion I shall use in making my determination with respect to the various provisions in the bill is, “Does this benefit the home buyer or the renter, and if so, how?” This committee is very concerned on how and to what extent this bill will help the ordinary wage earner and low income person to acquire better living accommodations and a better environment in which to bring up their families.
Every member of this committee is also concerned with the problem of helping to provide good and decent housing for our Negro citizens and other minority groups. Too long have these groups been on the "outside” of a good housing program, and before I vote for any provisions in this bill, I shall have to be satisfied that a substantial volume of better housing will be provided for them.
With this in mind, I am confident that the witnesses before this committee will help us make intelligent and constructive determinations.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Cole, the Housing and Home Finance Agency Administrator, for the excellent job you have done in administering the various acts under your jurisdiction, and for your ceaseless and fruitful work in bringing to the Nation's attention the problems that we must solve if we are to have a better housed and better living America.
I think the work of the President's Advisory Committee on Housing helped our people, the President, and the Congress to understand better the very complicated and difficult problems that confront us in this field of housing and mortgage finance. Many of their recommendations were most constructive and others have provoked the thought and discussion which is so necessary if our democracy is to be truly effective in each of the important sectors of our economic and social life.
Mr. Cole, I think you are to be complimented and congratulated for your direction of the President's Advisory Committee, and for securing so much agreement and so much understanding on so many otherwise controversial problems. I also want to express thanks to every member who served on that Committee and I welcome their views on the legislation we are now considering.
At this point, I would like to ask permission to have printed a complete text of S. 2938, and also the text of the bill, S. 2889, introduced by Mr. Sparkman, and text of the bill, S. 2949, likewise introduced by Mr. Sparkman, for himself and for many other Senators; also a copy of the summary of the housing bill, which was released by me in the form of a press release on Friday, February 12, 1954.
I think with a copy of the big bill, plus the two bills introduced by Senator Sparkman, and a summary of the housing bill, we will now be in a position to proceed with the hearings.
(S. 2889, S. 2938, S. 2949, and the summary referred to follow :)
(S. 2889, 83d Cong., 2d sess.] A BILL To expand and extend to June 30, 1955, the direct home and farmhouse loan
authority of the Administrator of Veterans Affairs under title III of the Servicemen's Readiustment Act of 1944, as amended, to make additional funds available therefor, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Scnate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assenibled, That the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, as amended, is hereby amended
(a) By striking out of clause (C) of section 512 (b) "June 30, 1954” and inserting in lieu thereof “June 30, 1955";
(b) By striking out of section 512 (d) "to any private lending institution evidencing ability to service loans” and inserting in lieu thereof “to any person or entity approved for such purpose by the Administrator" ;
(c) By striking out of the first sentence of section 513 (a) “June 30, 1954" and inserting in lieu thereof "June 30, 1955" ;
(d) By striking out of the third sentence of section 513 (c) “June 30, 1955" and inserting in lieu thereof “June 30, 1956" ;
(e) By striking out of the first sentence of section 513 (d) “June 30, 1954" and inserting in lieu thereof "June 30, 1955"; and,
(f) By striking out of section 513 (d) the second time it appears the sum “$25,000,000” and inserting in lieu thereof the sum of “$50,000,000.”
[S. 2938, 83d Cong., 2d sess. ] A BILL To aid in the provision and improvement of housing, the elimination and pre
vention of slums, and the conservation and development of urban communities Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the “Housing Act of 1954."
TITLE I-FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION
AMENDMENTS OF TITLE I OF NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
SEC. 101. Section 2 (b) of the National Housing Act, as amended, is hereby amended,
(1) by striking out clause numbered (1) and inserting the following: “(1) if the amount of such loan, advance of credit, or purchase exceeds $3,000";
(2) by striking out of clause numbered (2) the words “three years” and inserting “five years"; and
(3) by striking out of the first proviso "$10,000 and having a maturity not in excess of seven years” and inserting “$10,000 or $1,500 per family unit,
whichever is the greater, and having a maturity not in excess of ten years". SEC. 102. Section 2 (f) of said Act, as amended, is hereby amended by adding the following at the end thereof: "The account heretofore established in connection with insurance operations under this section and identified in the accounting records of the Federal Housing Administration as the Title I Claims Account shall be terminated as of June 30, 1954, at which time all of the remaining assets of such account, together with deposits therein for the account of obligors, shall be transferred to and merged with the account established pursuant to this subsection. Moneys in the account established pursuant to this subsection not needed for the current operations of the Federal Housing Administration may be invested in bonds or other obligations of, or in bonds or other obligations guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the United States."
SEC. 103. Section 8 of said Act, as amended, is hereby amended by striking the period at the end of subsection (a) and inserting a colon and the following: "And provided further, That no mortgage shall be insured under this section after the effective date of the Housing Act of 1954, except pursuant to a commitment to insure issued on or before such date."
AMENDMENTS OF TITLE II OF NATIONAL HOUSING ACT SEC. 104. Section 203 (b) (2) of said Act, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“(2) Involve a principal obligation (including such initial service charges, appraisal, inspection, and other fees as the Commissioner shall approve) in an amount not to exceed $20,000 in the case of property upon which there is located a dwelling designed principally for a one- or two-family residence; or $27,500 in the case of a three-family residence: or $35,000 in the case of a four-family residence; and not to exceed an amount equal to the sum of (i) 95 per centum of $8,000 of the appraised value (as of the date the mortgage is accepted for insurance), and (ii) 75 per centum of such value in excess of $8,000: Provided, That the mortgagor shall have paid on account of the property at least 5 per centum (or such larger amount as the Commissioner may determine) of the Commissioner's estimate of the cost of acquisition in cash or its equivalent: And provided further, That such mortgage shall not involve a principal obligation exceeding the maximum amount prescribed by the provisions of this section 203 in effect prior to the effective date of the Housing Act of 1954, unless the President, pursuant to section 201 of the Housing Act of 1954 has authorized a greater maximum amount, in which event such principal obligation shall not exceed such greater maximum amount."
Sec. 105. Section 203 (b) (3) of said Act, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“(3) Have a maturity satisfactory to the Commissioner, but not to exceed, in any event, thirty years from the date of the insurance of the mortgage: Provided, That the maturity of any such mortgage shall not exceed the maximum maturity prescribed therefor by the provisions of this section 203 in effect prior to the effective date of the Housing Act of 1954, unless the President, pursuant to section 201 of the Housing Act of 1954, has authorized a greater maturity, in which event the maturity of such mortgage shall not exceed such greater maturity.”