The Nation : House Panel OKs New Powers for HUD

The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to strengthen enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. The measure would give the Department of Housing and Urban Development the authority to levy fines and issue injunctions against those who violate the fair housing laws. Currently, HUD can only attempt to mediate disputes. The Justice Department can bring suits against individuals for a pattern of housing discrimination and private individuals can bring their own lawsuits if they feel aggrieved. Senate sponsors of a similar measure, which passed the Judiciary Committee nearly a year ago, don't want to move until the House has completed its work. The House must move quickly if the measure is to have any chance of passage this year.

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