Ben Carson, outsider with no government experience, confirmed to lead HUD
- Author: Jack Replman Mar 03, 2017,
Mar 03, 2017, 0:28
WASHINGTON, March 2 Ben Carson, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead USA housing policy, won Senate approval on Thursday.
ADMINISTRATION Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson wins Senate approval to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, making him the sole African-American member of Trump's cabinet.
Before Trump announced his selection of Carson, an aide told the media that Carson wasn't interested in joining the Cabinet because he "feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency".
Carson, who, through a spokesperson a year ago admitted he had no qualifications to be a cabinet secretary, will be in charge of a $50 billion federal government agency whose mission he has said he does not support. "Despite today's vote, we will continue to work together with all those who value dignity, fairness, and compassion to promote fair housing and resist any attempt to roll back civil rights or attack vulnerable communities".
The vote comes more than a month after Carson earned the bipartisan backing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, even gaining the support of two of the panel's most liberal members - Democrats Sherrod Brown of OH and Elizabeth Warren of MA. "Do you believe that HUD has a duty to take actions that promote equal access to housing opportunities for LGBTQ people?"
During the election campaign, Trump vehemently attacked Ben Carson, telling him that he was a person with "very low energy" and launching harsh criticism against dubious data of his autobiography. The party-line approval assigns Carson leadership of the agency, which now has a budget of $47 billion and more than 8,000 on staff. LGBT Americans are disproportionately vulnerable to housing discrimination, but sexual orientation is not a protected category under federal housing discrimination laws.
"Dr. Carson should be proud of his achievement", said Bill Brown, president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in a statement.
Carson has also advocated strongly in recent weeks for expanding partnerships between HUD, the private sector, and faith-based charity groups. "We look forward to working with Secretary Carson to meet these challenges head on".