The Latest on Dr. Ben Carson's Confirmation Hearing for HUD Secretary
Thursday, January 12, 2017
The confirmation hearing for Dr. Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for HUD Secretary, took place this morning in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
Prior to his hearing, Dr. Carson released a written statement of testimony. In his statement, Dr. Carson confirmed his belief that HUD should assist in ensuring housing security and strong communities. He noted the connection between housing and health, including the detrimental effects of substandard housing, and stated he wanted to continue to build on the recent progress of reducing homelessness. However, Dr. Carson said he would like to see change in the form of deregulation, specifically mentioning land use regulations.
View Dr. Carson's full statement
Dr. Carson frequently used his public platform and his presidential run to publicly denounce government overreach and drew on his personal success story to argue against government welfare programs in favor of a by-the-bootstraps attitude. He has said the government's social welfare programs, including housing subsidies, make the poor "dependent" on the government and has called poverty "really more of a choice than anything else," making a case for personal responsibility.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the committee, and Sen. Bob Menendez, (D-New Jersey), pressed Carson about those criticisms during today's hearing and nudged him to go on the record that he would uphold HUD's mission and that he supports its programs.
Dr. Carson conceded that he believes HUD's rental assistance program is "essential" and said it would be "cruel and unusual" to retire government assistance programs without a proper replacement. He also assured the committee that he would advocate for HUD's budget and not seek to gut the agency.
Unfortunately absent from Dr. Carson's statement are issues relating to older adults and the nation's lack of affordable housing. Prior to the hearing, AASC sent a letter to Sen. Brown informing him of the important work of service coordinators. Our letter also included a list of questions to ask Dr. Carson regarding service coordinators and the populations you serve. Unfortunately, none of the questions proposed by AASC or its members were asked during the hearing; however, Senate Committee members could pose additional questions in writing to Dr. Carson for a formal response.
A version of our letter was also sent by AASC members to their Senators on the Committee:
- Mike Crapo, Chairman (R-Idaho)
- Bob Corker (R-Tennessee)
- Dean Heller (R-Nevada)
- Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
- Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)
- Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)
- Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia)
Thank you to our members who wrote to their Senator!
View AASC's letter to Senator Brown
AASC will continue to work with congressional representatives, HUD staff and Dr. Carson, should he be confirmed, to advance service coordination and advocate for your residents.