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Waters Presses Carson on His Long List of Harmful Housing Proposals

Today, at a full Committee hearing with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Benjamin Carson entitled, “Housing in America: Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement:

As Prepared for Delivery

Today, this Committee convenes for a hearing to conduct oversight over the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Our sole witness is Dr. Benjamin Carson, the Trump Administration’s HUD Secretary.

I am very concerned about Secretary Carson’s actions leading HUD.

Specifically, under his leadership, HUD has put forth an outrageous plan that would triple rents for the lowest income households in the country and put 1.7 million Americans at risk of eviction and homelessness at a time when we are in the midst of a national homelessness and housing affordability crisis. His most recent proposed budget would cut HUD funding by 18 percent. That budget proposal includes the elimination of new funding for the National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, important programs that are in place to increase the supply of affordable housing. As I have said before, what we need is real investment in affordable housing programs, not senseless budget cuts.

Under Secretary Carson’s leadership, HUD has diminished and compromised fair housing protections. Secretary Carson has halted the implementation of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which is an important rule finalized by the Obama Administration that provides communities with greater clarity on how to help break down residential segregation and barriers to fair housing opportunity.

I am also concerned by reports about delays in disaster recovery funds reaching Puerto Rico, and delays in a HUD Office of the Inspector General inquiry into the matter due to a lack of timely cooperation by HUD.

I was also very troubled by Secretary Carson’s recent cruel proposal to terminate housing benefits for families with mixed-immigration status. Of course, existing law already prevents federal housing programs from subsidizing individuals with ineligible immigration status. Prorated rental assistance allows mixed-immigration status families to remain together while exclusively subsidizing only those family members with eligible status. The Trump Administration’s proposal puts mixed-status families at risk of being evicted, separated, and left homeless.

Secretary Carson, across the board, these actions are inconsistent with HUD’s mission. Instead of helping the hardworking Americans and vulnerable families the agency is in place to serve, the Trump Administration is actively causing harm, striving to make housing less available, affordable and fair.

Today, you will face some tough questions about your leadership decisions and mismanagement of the agency.

With that, I now yield five minutes to the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. McHenry, for an opening statement.


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