HUD Confirmations Move Forward Slowly

The Senate confirmed a slate of nominations before it went on August recess, including for key positions at HUD and the Treasury. The Senate confirmed Neal Rackleff as assistant secretary for HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development, Anna Maria Farias as HUD’s assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and David Kautter as assistant secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy. The package of nominations did not include Pamela Patenaude or Paul Compton, who were previously advanced by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Ms. Patenaude, who was nominated as deputy secretary of HUD, faced sharp questions from Committee Democrats about President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal during her confirmation hearing on June 6. (See Memo, 6/12). “Anyone who cares about housing should oppose this budget,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during the hearing. Ms. Warren withheld her support during the June 14 Executive Session vote on Ms. Patenaude’s nomination.

Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) opposed the nominations of Mr. Compton, Ms. Farias, and Mr. Rackleff during the Banking Committee’s Executive Session vote. “I vote against [these] nominations because I am concerned about the Administration’s approach to fair housing. I voted for Secretary Carson – I believe I was one of only six Democrats that did – but I was troubled to learn of Secretary Carson’s plans to reinterpret HUD’s AFFH [Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing] rule.” (See Memo, 7/24).

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who voted against Mr. Compton’s nomination as HUD general counsel, stated, “In part my opposition is based on what subsequently came out of responses to questions for the record. In regard to Mr. Compton, I have serious concerns about his willingness to implement HUD’s AFFH rulemaking. Despite affirming during his nomination hearing that he intended to implement HUD’s rule-making, Mr. Compton backtracked in response to questions for the record. Specifically, he raised concerns about whether the rule ‘placed undue bureaucratic burden on local municipalities and public housing authorities.’” Senators Brown, Menendez, and five additional Committee Democrats voted against Mr. Compton’s nomination.

Of the 12 Senate-confirmed positions at HUD, only Secretary Carson, Mr. Rackleff, and Ms. Farias have been confirmed. The nominations of Ms. Patenaude and Mr. Compton are still pending confirmation by the full Senate, and the Trump Administration has not announced nominations for the remaining seven positions.