Over the last few days, Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, met with several senators in preparation for his upcoming confirmation hearing.
During his rounds on Capitol Hill, Carson met with Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, but Carson’s real moment of truth is coming soon, according to a report from Lorraine Woellert of Politico.
Per Woellert’s report, on Thursday, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs set the date for Carson’s confirmation hearing – Thursday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m. Eastern.
According to a brief announcement from the Senate Committee, Carson is due to appear before it in one week.
The Banking Committee will meet on the nomination of @HUDgov Secretary-Designate Dr. Ben Carson next Thursday at 10am ET.— Senate Banking GOP (@BankingGOP) January 5, 2017
The offices of Sens. Perdue and Grassley released statements about the senators’ meeting with Carson, perhaps giving a clue as to how Carson will be received by the Republicans on the committee.
While Grassley doesn’t serve on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee, his office said that he discussed housing during his meeting with Carson.
“The taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year to provide safe, affordable housing for those in need,” Grassley said.
“HUD is good at writing checks but not as interested in making sure the money is spent as intended. Several public housing authorities around the country have used the lack of checks and balances to run up excessive executive salaries, travel expenses and other wasteful spending,” Grassley added. “Over the last several years, my oversight of HUD has led to key successes, such as publicly disclosing public housing authority salaries and clarifying that housing authorities by law aren’t allowed to circumvent salary caps using federal funds.”
According to Grassley, HUD “consistently stonewalled congressional oversight” on several issues during the Obama administration.
Grassley said that he hopes to see that change under the Trump administration.
“I conveyed to Dr. Carson the problems I’ve run into and how I hope for more accountability and transparency for how taxpayer dollars are used to fulfill housing needs under a new administration,” Grassley said.
“I said that the Office of Inspector General appears to be working well, and that such success should continue. I expressed the need for HUD to function well for the families and individuals who depend on public housing programs and for the many people on long waiting lists for public housing, even as money has been squandered in housing authority executive suites,” Grassley said.
“HUD needs to get the biggest bang for the buck,” Grassley concluded. “Dr. Carson listened carefully to everything I had to say. I look forward to Dr. Carson’s swift confirmation so he can get to work making much-needed changes at HUD.”
Perdue, who is a newly installed member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee, complimented Carson and said that he supports Trump’s nominee.
“Dr. Carson’s heart for humanity is very impressive, and he will bring that commitment to this new responsibility to meet our nation’s diverse housing and development needs,” Perdue said. “I look forward to supporting Dr. Carson’s nomination and working together to roll back government regulations impeding economic growth so we can bring positive change to the most underserved communities in our country.”
For a look at the varied reaction to Carson’s nomination, click here.