Senate GOP and Democrats Save HUD Regulation from Defunding Measure

Kerry Picket, Daily Caller, May 19, 2016

A proposed amendment aimed at defunding a controversial Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulation related to Section 8 Housing was tabled in the upper chamber Thursday.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee proposed an amendment to the Senate Transportation and HUD appropriations bill that would have defunded a regulation stopping the implementation of the HUD regulation known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

The HUD rule, put forth by Housing Secretary Julian Castro last year, mandates that $3 billion of annual community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties to rezone neighborhoods along income and racial specifications.

Lee said in his floor speech on his amendment Wednesday that AFFH ordered cities and towns nationwide are required to audit their local housing policies, under monitoring by federal HUD regulators, “who may have never have lived anywhere near there.”

“If any aspect of a community’s housing and demographic patterns fails to meet HUD bureaucrats’ expansive definition of ‘fair housing,’ the local government must submit a plan to reorganize the community’s housing practices according to the preferences and priorities of the bureaucrats,” said Lee

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“Under the new rule, HUD doesn’t replace local Public Housing Authorities – it conscripts them into its service,” said Lee.

However, Lee’s amendment to defund AFFH was tabled by a vote of 60 to 37. Republicans opposed to Lee’s provision offered an alternative through an amendment proposed by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, which some conservative outlets derided as a toothless attempt to cover for Republicans who voted to table Lee’s amendment.

Collins defended her amendment Thursday on the floor saying that, “There has been concern that some have brought up that a new rule that was issued last year by the department would some how allow HUD to be the national zoning authority for every neighborhood in our country.”

“Well, I do not believe that that is the correct interpretation of the fair housing regulation that HUD has promulgated. This amendment-the Collins, Jack Reed, Cochran amendment ensures that HUD cannot do that. It eliminated that possibility and ensures that communities will continue to make their own decisions to address these federal requirements,” she added.

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