The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing on January 28 for Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), President Joe Biden’s nominee for the secretary of HUD. In Representative Fudge’s testimony, she detailed her priorities as HUD secretary, her direct experience with economic development and affordable housing as mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio and as a representative of Ohio’s 11th congressional district. She also addressed her commitment to addressing HUD’s greatest challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
“It bears mentioning, particularly in this moment of crisis, that HUD - perhaps more than any other department - exists to serve the most vulnerable people in America. That mandate matters a great deal to me. It is consistent with my own values, and it is precisely what has always motivated me to service.” Representative Fudge said, “There are so many issues we need to come together to address - everything from bringing capital back to disinvested communities, to increasing energy efficiency in housing, to dealing with the dangers of lead-based paint, to taking on our crisis of homelessness with compassion and resolve.”
Regarding specific regulations such as the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and the Disparate Impact rule, Representative Fudge assured the committee that she will follow the regulatory process in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and will ensure HUD’s actions remain consistent with the Supreme Court ruling on inclusive communities (see Memo, 05/29/2015). Representative Fudge also confirmed her commitment to enforce fair housing law. When questioned about her past statements about Republican elected officials, Representative Fudge expressed her commitment to work with all of the members of Congress.
The AFFH rule was abruptly rescinded last summer by the Trump administration (see Memo, 07/27/2020), and harmful changes to the Disparate Impact Rule were set to go into effect on October 26, 2020 but were halted by a U.S. District Court (see Memo, 11/02/2020). President Biden recently issued a memorandum to HUD directing an examination of the previous administration’s actions against these rules. The memo directs HUD to administer its programs in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing and prevents practices with disparate impacts.
Among other priorities, Representative Fudge also expressed support for :
- expanding Housing Choice Vouchers
- expanding the inventory of low- and moderate-income housing
- expanding housing counseling assistance
- housing finance reform with a focus on down payment assistance
- the permanent authorization of CDBG-DR program.
Representative Fudge expressed a commitment to work with members of the Committee on Opportunity Zones, manufactured housing, addressing lead and hazard in homes, zoning and NIMBY politics, and the shortage of affordable housing in tribal communities.
A vote to confirm Representative Fudge is expected to occur later this week. If confirmed, Marcia Fudge will be the first woman in 40 years and the second Black woman ever to lead HUD.
NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel submitted a letter in support of Representative Fudge’s nomination as secretary of HUD to Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-PA), and members of the Committee. The letter urges swift confirmation and states:
“Secretary-designate Fudge will be charged with leading HUD during a time of extraordinary challenges and hardship for our nation’s lowest-income renters and people experiencing homelessness. Secretary-designate Fudge has a demonstrated record as a leader who values the expertise and the importance of building collaborative partnerships, a record she clearly intends to continue through her and President Biden’s assembling of an outstanding team of seasoned experts to navigate the critical work ahead. Her decision to surround herself with experts and champions for affordable housing will, together with her leadership, vision, and commitment to the lowest-income and most marginalized people, propel HUD to achieve its critical mission and revitalize the department’s depleted and demoralized workforce.”
A recording of the confirmation hearing can be found at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affair’s website at: https://bit.ly/2Y0vhHJ
Read Representative Fudge’s written testimony at: https://bit.ly/2NPeW6V
Read NLIHC’s letter of support of Representative Marcia Fudge’s nomination as secretary of HUD at: https://bit.ly/3otlm8e