Wednesday morning U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson appeared before the House Committee on Financial Services.
At the hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, began the hearing by stating that in the 50 years since former President Lyndon Johnson created the agency, it has failed the American public.
He quoted Johnson to say that HUD’s purpose is “not to only to relieve the symptoms of poverty but also to cure it and above all, prevent it.”
Hensarling explained that HUD has not done that, but only made families dependent on the programs, and failed in its mission.
“There’s no doubt that HUD programs help a number of our citizens and are a critical part of the nation’s social safety net, but when I look at the data and when I look into the faces of our fellow citizens, who seem to be trapped into lives of dependency, it’s hard not to conclude that HUD has failed far too many for far too long,” he said in his opening statement.
But Hensarling explained this failure is not for lack of resources, saying HUD’s budget has grown faster than almost every other federal budget function.
“HUD resources have not been a problem – HUD’s focus and success has been,” Hensarling said.
But despite his criticisms, Hensarling applauded Carson and the administration for efforts to weed out discrimination, improve affordable housing and achieve Johnson’s goal to remove citizens from life of dependency.
However, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services Maxine Waters, D-Calif., was not as complimentary.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development is supposed to create strong communities, expand access to affordable housing and enforce fair housing rights,” Waters said in her opening statement. “Unfortunately, since becoming secretary, Ben Carson has taken numerous steps to eliminate fair housing protections for the most vulnerable families in this country.”
“From proposing to eliminate fair housing from HUD’s mission statement to eliminating protections for LGBTQ individuals, under Secretary Carson, HUD has stepped back from an important part of its mission,” she said.
Waters announced in order to combat Carson’s efforts, she introduced H.R. 6220, the Restoring Fair Housing Protections Eliminated by HUD Act of 2018. But as Republicans currently control Congress, it is unlikely her bill will go anywhere.
Watch the full hearing below: