Reps. Al Green (TX-09), Harley Rouda (CA-48) Introduce Legislation to Restore URLA Military Service Question Ahead of Financial Services Committee Hearing with FHFA Director Mark Calabria

Sep 15, 2020 Issues: Veterans, Housing

(Washington, D.C.) – On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, Congressmembers Al Green (TX-09) and Harley Rouda (CA-48) introduced H.R. 8252 to restore the military service question to a prominently displayed position on the URLA form, ahead of the virtual Financial Services Committee hearing with the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Dr. Mark A. Calabria:                                                                                             

“Our nation owes an insurmountable debt to our military servicemembers, both current and former, who have risked their lives to protect us at home and abroad. Home ownership is one of many much-needed government incentives we must continue to guarantee our veterans and current soldiers for their bravery and selfless patriotism,” Congressman Al Green stated. “The military service preference question on the Universal Residential Loan Application (URLA) form, which is used for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extends the opportunity to participate in the VA Home Loan Program for veterans and active duty servicemembers who may be completing the URLA because they are unaware of their eligibility for the Program. The VA Home Loan Program offers qualifying servicemembers, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses more favorable loan terms such as no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, and low interest rates. In 2019, FHFA, under the leadership of Director Calabria, proposed relocating the military service question to the end of the URLA form, below the signature line.”

Congressman Green added, “Under Director Calabria’s leadership, there have been several changes to the URLA form that serve to make homeownership less accessible. Last year, I introduced legislation to require the reinstatement of the language preference question on the URLA form to ensure a fair and equitable approach to homebuying for all persons, regardless of their primary language. I also joined Rep. Rouda and 30 of our colleagues in writing to Director Calabria to explain the proposed relocation of the military service question.”

“Today, Rep. Rouda and I have introduced H.R.8252 to ensure our military servicemembers are given a fair chance to redeem the benefits they may qualify for because of their sacrifice to our nation. Locating the military service question beneath the signature line on the URLA form nearly ensures that it will not receive the consideration from each applicant that it demands and could force qualifying active duty servicemembers and veterans to forego their opportunity to benefit from the VA Home Loan Program.”

“We should be making it easier, not harder, for service members and veterans to access the military benefits they earned,” said Rep. Harley Rouda (CA-48). “Featuring the military service question in a prominent location on the URLA is critical to connecting those who served with services like the VA Home Loan Program. I thank Rep. Green for his leadership on this issue and look forward to ensuring we prioritize service members and veterans' needs.”

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H.R. 8252 has been endorsed by the following organizations: Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), National Association of Realtors (NAR), Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), Service Women’s Action Network, National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR).