The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday recommended the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as the 17th HUD Secretary be sent to the U.S. Senate floor for a full vote.
The 65-year-old Carson was announced as President Donald Trump’s pick for HUD Secretary in late November about three weeks after Trump was elected. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, became a household name in 2015 when he began a campaign to win the Republican presidential nomination as a rival of Donald Trump.
“The Senate Banking Committee saw in Dr. Carson the qualifications, ability, and spirit needed to excel in the position of HUD Secretary,” said Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado, a former executive with Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac. “I trust that a full confirmation of Dr. Carson will be forthcoming and that Congress can begin working with Dr. Carson to solve the problems facing American homeowners today.”
Carson was raised in the inner city of Detroit and is passionate about revitalizing urban areas across the country. At the same time, he was considered a curious choice for HUD Secretary because he has never served in a government position and also because he has been critical of the Obama Administration’s final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule passed in 2015.
“Dr. Carson is not the nominee that I would have chosen. I assume he’s not the nominee that really any of you would have chosen, because I think you all care about housing policy and most of you have some depth of understanding and knowledge of housing policy,” said Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, in Tuesday's executive session. “I say that I would not have chosen him because of his lack of experience and his often troubling public statements over the last three years, but despite my reservations, my disagreements with some of his positions, I’ll give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt. I plan to vote for him based on commitments he’s made to me in person and made in testimony in written responses to this Committee.”
The Hill on Tuesday reported that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), after a tough line of questioning for Carson two weeks ago in the Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing, expressed her support of Carson for the HUD role based on promises Carson made regarding protecting the LGBT community from discrimination in housing, reduce lead exposure in public housing, and not to play favorites when granting public housing contracts, according to the Hill.
“In light of these promises, I support Dr. Carson’s nomination, and look forward to working with him to ensure that he follows through on his commitments,” Warren said in a statement, according to the Hill.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) read excerpts from some of the 20 letters he said the Committee received in support of Carson, including one from former HUD Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez.
“Dr. Carson’s experience will help him navigate and tackle the challenges that HUD currently faces and HUD will benefit from having a Secretary with a different perspective and a diverse background, and I’m excited to support Dr. Carson to become the 17th Secretary of HUD,” Crapo said.
Carson calmly answered questions from Senate Banking Committee members about his background and qualifications for the HUD Secretary position in a confirmation hearing that lasted nearly nearly three hours on January 12.
“Throughout my life, I have done things that many deemed impossible,” Carson said in his confirmation hearing two weeks ago. “I pledge to work with this Committee and the dedicated career staff at HUD to solve difficult, seemingly obstinate issues and address the needs of those who rely on the services provided by HUD.”
Click here to view a webcast of Tuesday’s executive session.