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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and other members of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation began a formal examination today of the Bush Administration's program, budget and management priorities for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Enzi encouraged HUD Secretary Mel Martinez to help community leaders find solutions to their housing and community development needs, particularly in rural areas and Indian Reservations.

"Wyoming and other rural states need better assistance in establishing homeownership opportunities," said Enzi.

Enzi commended the President's initiative to promote homeownership opportunities by proposing a $1.7 billion tax credit that will support the rehabilitation or new construction of an estimated 100,000 homes purchased by low-income households over a five-year period and $200 million to provide homeownership downpayment assistance to 130,000 low-income, first-time home buyers.

"These programmatic increases will assist Wyomingites in creating strong communities and sustaining economic growth in my home state," said Enzi.

Enzi said Wyoming has already put in place policy reforms that fit its unique needs.

"Because Wyoming doesn't have a single state housing agency, Wyomingites have mobilized their initiatives in order to ensure greater homeownership for our state. For example, the creation of the Indian Housing Coordinating Committee will facilitate better access to affordable housing for the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes on the Wind River Reservation. With this strong partnership at the local level, we will be able to better access private and government dollars to increase affordable housing and community and economic development for Wyoming," said Enzi.

Concerned about the effects of fraud, waste and abuse at HUD, Enzi also addressed the implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which would provide accountability and strategic planning measures for federal agencies.

"I have a keen interest in the measurable progress of management reforms in all federal agencies. I believe the GPRA would assist these agencies in effectively and efficiently accomplishing their missions, which is to serve the American people," said Enzi. "I would welcome the opportunity to come to HUD to begin these GPRA discussions with you, Secretary Martinez."