As the Bush administration struggles to resolve the worst housing crisis in decades, it will now have to find a new boss for an agency on the front lines of the battle. Alphonso Jackson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, capitulated to pressure from Democratic lawmakers and stepped down Monday.
"Secretary Jackson has repeatedly demonstrated that he is not in the position to provide the type of leadership that is necessary during these trying and difficult times," Sen. Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a March 21 press release. "Now, more than ever, we need a HUD Secretary who can devote his full energy to solving our nation's housing crisis."
Why was there pressure on Jackson to resign?
"Jackson has recently been accused in a lawsuit of retaliating against housing officials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for blocking a land deal with one of Jackson's friends," CNN reports. "The FBI has been investigating allegations that Jackson steered a federal contract to a golfing buddy based in South Carolina."
HUD has emerged as a key agency in the battle to resolve the housing crisis. The Bush administration has made the Federal Housing Administration—a HUD unit—one of the anchors of its efforts to stabilize the housing markets. And the FHA is also at the core of a Democratic proposal to help struggling borrowers.
As for a replacement for Jackson?
"One possibility would be to promote from within the department, given the short time remaining in the president's term and the hostility he faces from the Democratic-controlled Senate, which must confirm Jackson's replacement," CNN reports.
The full story is here.
The HUD press release is here.
The statement by President Bush on Jackson's departure is here.