Senate Hears Testimony from Pam Patenaude, President’s Nominee for HUD Deputy Secretary

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on June 6 to consider the nomination of Pam Patenaude to be deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ms. Patenaude faced questions from Committee Democrats about the Trump administration’s FY18 budget, which proposes slashing affordable housing and other essential programs. Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) lauded Ms. Patenaude’s extensive career in housing policy and advocacy, but highlighted that it stands at odds with the administration’s budget proposal.

“At a time when more than 11 million renters pay over half their incomes toward rent, and 500,000 people are homeless, the President’s proposal would cut more than $7 billion - 15 percent - from HUD’s budget,” said Ranking Member Brown.

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel has criticized the president’s budget for its “cruel indifference to the millions of low income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and other vulnerable people who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.” If enacted, it would eliminate the national Housing Trust Fund, cause more than 250,000 families to lose their housing vouchers, and gut the public housing program.

“Anyone who cares about housing should oppose this budget,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during the hearing,

Ms. Patenaude consistently responded that she supports the president’s proposed budget, though she was not involved in drafting it. She also stated that she will use her position to advocate for adequate funding for programs with a proven track record and for reforms and new programs that help the agency reach more people.

Committee Republicans asked about Ms. Patenaude’s ideas for regulatory reform and efficiency improvements, such as building on provisions of the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016.” Ms. Patenaude highlighted the importance of reducing regulatory barriers to affordable housing construction by educating and incentivizing local and state officials to review their zoning ordinances. She referenced an initiative by former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Not in My Back Yard, as a possible inspiration for this effort.

Ms. Patenaude’s written testimony focused on her experience in housing policy at the state, local, and federal levels of government, and on her track record of bipartisan collaboration. She also drew attention to the severe shortage of affordable rental homes and pledged to work with the Committee, Congress, and HUD Secretary Ben Carson to develop viable solutions that advance HUD’s mission. She called for approaches on multiple fronts, including land-use regulatory reform, greater incentives for private investment in affordable homes, and increased attention from state and local governments.

Read Ms. Patenaude’s full testimony at:

Read Chair Mike Crapo’s (R-ID) opening statement at:

Read Ranking Member Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) opening statement at:

Review NLIHC’s analysis of the Trump Administration’s budget request at: