WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senators said Friday that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, buffeted by allegations of cronyism and favoritism, should resign.

Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said that Jackson's problems represented a "worsening distraction" when the nation needs a credible housing secretary who is beyond suspicion.

"It is time for Secretary Jackson to go," Murray said.

Murray chairs a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on housing, while Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. The pair sent a letter to President Bush urging him to request Jackson's resignation.

Jackson has refused to answer questions about his role in a Philadelphia redevelopment deal. The city's housing authority has filed a lawsuit charging that Jackson tried to punish the agency for nixing a deal involving music-producer-turned-developer Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson.