On Wednesday, the Senate voted to approve the nomination of Julián Castro as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by a 71-26 margin. Castro will now take over as the head of HUD for the departing Shaun Donovan, who has been nominated to the post of Director of Office of Management and Budget.
Castro’s Senate confirmation was greeted with approval throughout the housing industry. After the Senate voted to confirm Castro, President Barack Obama released a statement celebrating the Senate's actions.
"I applaud the bipartisan majority of Senators who today confirmed Julián Castro as our next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development," President Obama said. "Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods."
"I know that together with the dedicated professionals at HUD, Julián will help build on the progress we’ve made battling back from the Great Recession — rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among veterans, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed," Obama continued.
"Julián has lived the American Dream in his own life, and I’m confident he will help Americans across our country seize their own piece of that dream for themselves and their children."
President Obama wasn’t alone in lauding the actions of the Senate. Senator Tim Johnson, D-S.D., who co-authored the Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform that is currently under consideration on the Senate floor, offered his congratulations to Castro.
“I congratulate Mayor Castro on being confirmed as the Secretary of HUD. His on-the-ground experience in San Antonio, where he has worked to help his community meet its housing and economic development goals, will serve him well in this new position,” Johnson said.
“Mayor Castro understands the importance of HUD’s programs to families and communities and of ensuring that these public investments are used effectively,” Johnson continued. “I would also like to thank outgoing Secretary Donovan, who led HUD during challenging economic times.
“The Department has many important tasks at hand, as the housing market continues to recover and Congress continues its efforts to reform the housing finance system, and I look forward to working with Secretary Castro.”
Several of the largest trade associations in housing industry each weighed in with their support as well. David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said that the organization is looking forward to working with both Castro and Donovan in their new roles.
“MBA commends the U.S. Senate for confirming Julián Castro to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development,” Stevens said. “With Castro becoming the next HUD Secretary, and Shaun Donovan soon to become the new Director of OMB, the Administration will be well positioned to address the important housing policy issues. We look forward to working with both men to help ease access to credit for qualified borrowers and accelerate the housing recovery."
Steve Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, said that Castro is the right person to lead HUD. “Mayor Castro’s vision for strong communities and affordable housing is the right fit for HUD, which has helped make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of Americans,” Brown said. “We are encouraged by his record of achievements to revitalize the city center in San Antonio and his commitment to public engagement and collaboration. We look forward to working with Mayor Castro as he transitions into his new role as HUD secretary.”
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions also heralded Castro’s confirmation. “NAFCU congratulates Mayor Castro on his confirmation,” said NAFCU's president and CEO Dan Berger. “We look forward to working with Mr. Castro and HUD in continued efforts to advance credit unions’ concerns about housing finance and impacts on their members and communities.”
Kenneth Bentsen, president and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said that SIFMA looks forward to working with Castro on several key issues.
“The financial services industry cares deeply about the policies that affect housing, from housing finance reform to the proposed and deeply misguided use of eminent domain, which is why it is important that this critical position has been filled,” Bentsen said. “We look forward to working with the new secretary on developing policies that make our housing finance system stronger and more sustainable."