Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was grilled by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing. Secretary Carson has gotten a lot of heat lately after reports that he and his wife used $31,000 in taxpayer money to furnish the secretary’s office. Secretary Carson cancelled the order after the press caught wind of the story but he claims that it was cancelled due to the high cost.
Senator Elizabeth Warren had a different issue she wanted to address in regard to the Secretary’s decision to delay an Obama Era rule regarding housing discrimination. The 2015 mandate directs communities receiving HUD block grants to complete a comprehensive Assessment of Fair Housing. Secretary Carson delayed this rule until October 31, 2020.
“Do you think that delaying the 2020 HUD for several more years has helped reduce housing discrimination,” Warren asked.
Carson responded to Warren’s question saying that the effective date was delayed due to the expenses that cities would be subject to paying which Carson claims would be between $100,000 and $800,000.
“This is a question about following the law,” Warren shot back. “The law clearly says affirmatively further fair housing. It doesn’t say cut back on that because you’re concerned about compliance costs.” Warren also cited a quote from a 2015 op-ed Carson wrote for the Washington Times that referred to this mandate as a “failed socialist experiment.”
“A lot of people a criticizing you for spending tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on fancy furniture… but the biggest scandal of your tenure is your unwillingness to do your job and enforce the laws that reduce housing discrimination and segregation across this country.”
Senator Warren correctly pointed out that median income Black families earn one-tenth of the median income of White families which Warren credits to decades of housing discrimination. During the late 60’s, Black households earned a sixth of what the average White family made which shows an alarming increase in income inequality between Whites and Blacks.
“You said you would enforce these laws, you haven’t and I think that’s the scandal that should get you fired,” Warren said.
Raw Story posted the full exchange which you can watch below: