Democratic Senators Challenge HUD Nominees During Hearing

At the Senate Banking Committee’s hearing on the nominations of Paul Compton to be HUD general counsel, Anna Maria Farias to be HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and Neal Rackleff to be HUD assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) expressed concerns that the nominees would not fully advocate within the Trump administration for the affordable housing programs they would oversee.

After Mr. Rackleff defended President Trump’s proposed FY18 HUD budget, which would cut funding by $7.5 billion compared to FY17, Ms. Warren expressed deep concerns about Mr. Rackleff’s willingness to advocate for HUD programs. Under the president’s budget, more than 250,000 families would lose their housing assistance, putting them at immediate risk of eviction and, in worst cases, homelessness. The president’s budget would also starve communities of the resources they need to address their most pressing housing and community development needs.

Mr. Menendez also expressed frustration, accusing the nominees of dodging the senators’ questions about whether they would advocate for HUD programs. He warned that their failure to directly respond to the senators’ questions would prevent him and other senators from voting to approve of their nominations.

This was the first nomination hearing for these nominees. If the committee votes in their favor, their confirmations will be moved to the Senate floor.