Marcia Fudge, President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, on Thursday vowed to end discrimination in housing should her nomination be approved by the U.S. Senate.
During her testimony to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Thursday, Fudge said part of her priorities for HUD, “will require us to end discriminatory practices in the housing market, and ensure that our fair housing rules are doing what they are supposed to do: opening the door for families, especially families of color who have been systematically kept out in the cold across generations, to buy homes and punch their ticket to the middle class.”
She spoke of making sure the playing field is leveled and righting past wrongs, rather than simply ensuring everyone is treated the same way when it comes to homeownership opportunities.
Days after taking office, Biden signed several new executive orders that address racial equity, including a memorandum that directs HUD to both mitigate racial bias in housing and advance fair housing laws.
In a memorandum, Biden called on HUD to examine changes the Trump administration made last year to several rules, including “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice” and “HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.” The agency will examine whether the Trump administration’s rules harmed access to fair housing.
If confirmed, Fudge would be the first Black woman to serve as HUD secretary in more than 40 years. Fudge’s previous work with the housing industry includes introducing legislation to help states and cities enact a speedier, more efficient process for abolishing vacant and abandoned properties.
Fudge received pushback from Republican Senators for some of her previous comments where she said, “Republicans don’t care about people of color, even a little bit. But if they do, I am willing to listen.”
However, Fudge, a U.S. Representative from Ohio, said her track record is one of bipartisanship and that she is committed to working across the aisle in her new role.
“I have the ability and the capacity to work with Republicans and I am committed to doing just that.”
The housing industry expressed its support of Fudge’s nomination, writing to the Senate Banking Committee in support of approving her.
“On behalf of the Mortgage Bankers Association, I write to support the nomination of the Honorable Marcia Fudge to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” MBA President and CEO Robert Broeksmit wrote. “Since holding her first elected position as the mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and throughout her representation of Ohio’s 11th congressional district, Congresswoman Fudge has consistently supported the development of affordable housing. This experience will serve her well as HUD’s highest ranking official…I respectfully urge this committee and, in turn, the full Senate to approve Congresswoman Fudge’s nomination as swiftly as possible.”