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Federal Housing Finance Agency; Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) publishes this final rule to adopt, without change, the interim final rule that was published in the Federal Register on November 10, 2010, setting forth procedures for use by FHFA in collecting debts owed to the Federal Government. The final rule implements the requirements of the Federal Claims Collection Act and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, and includes procedures for collection of debts through salary offset, administrative offset, tax refund offset, and administrative wage garnishment.
The final rule is effective on March 29, 2011.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Andra Grossman, Senior Counsel, telephone (202) 343-1313 or Gail F. Baum, Associate General Counsel, telephone (202) 343-1508 (not toll-free numbers); Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fourth Floor, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20552. The telephone number for the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf is (800) 877-8339.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
A. Debt Collection
On November 10, 2010, FHFA published an interim final rule in the Federal Register at 75 FR 68956. This final rule adopts, without change, that interim final rule that set forth procedures for use by FHFA in collecting debts owed to the Federal Government. The final rule implements the requirements of the Federal Claims Collection Act  and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA). The DCIA requires agencies to either (1) adopt without change regulations on collecting debts by administrative offset promulgated by the Department of Justice or Department of the Treasury; or (2) prescribe agency regulations for collecting such debts by administrative offset, which are consistent with the Federal Claims Collection Standards (FCCS). The agency regulations are to protect the minimum due process rights that must be afforded to a debtor when an agency seeks to collect a debt, including the ability to verify, challenge, and compromise claims, and provide access to administrative appeals procedures which are both reasonable and protect the interests of the United States. FHFA issued its own agency regulations for debt collection, to account for FHFA's status as an independent regulatory agency, and for ease of use. The final rule is consistent with the FCCS, as required by the DCIA. In addition, the tax refund offset provisions of the regulations satisfy the requirement of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that FHFA adopt agency regulations authorizing its collection of debts by administrative offset in general and tax refund offset in particular. The administrative wage garnishment provisions of the regulations satisfy the requirement in 31 CFR 285.11(f) that FHFA adopt regulations for the conduct of administrative wage garnishment hearings.
B. Effective Date
This final rule, without change, affirms the establishment of 12 CFR part 1208 and removal of 12 CFR part 1704 by the interim final rule that is already in effect. FHFA determined that the interim final rule pertains to agency practice and procedure and is interpretative in nature. The procedures contained in the interim final rule for salary offset, administrative offset, tax refund offset, and administrative wage garnishment are mandated by law and by regulations promulgated by the Office of Personnel Management, jointly by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice, and by the IRS. FHFA determined that the interim final rule was not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the requirements of the APA for a notice and comment period and for a delayed effective date. While the interim final rule became effective on November 10, 2010, FHFA provided a 60-day comment period that ended on January 10, 2011. FHFA did not receive any comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule, FHFA adopts the provisions of the interim final rule as a final rule without any changes.
Paperwork Reduction Act
The final rule does not contain any information collection requirement that requires the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that a regulation that has a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, small businesses, or small organizations must include an initial regulatory flexibility analysis describing the regulation's impact on small entities. Such an analysis need not be undertaken if the agency has certified that the regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. FHFA has considered the impact of the final rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. FHFA certifies that the final rule is not likely to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business entities because the rule applies Start Printed Page 17332primarily to Federal employees and a limited number of Federal and business entities.Start List of Subjects
List of SubjectsEnd List of Subjects Start Part
PART 1208—DEBT COLLECTIONEnd Part Start Part
Authority and Issuance
Accordingly, the interim final rule establishing 12 CFR part 1208 and removing 12 CFR part 1704 that was published in the Federal Register at 75 FR 68956 on November 10, 2010, is adopted as a final rule without change.Start Signature
Dated: March 18, 2011.
Edward J. DeMarco,
Acting Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
1. Public Law 89-508, 80 Stat. 308 (1966), as amended by the Debt Collection Act of 1982, Public Law 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749 (1982).Back to Citation
9. Id.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-7341 Filed 3-28-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8070-01-P