Dr. Ben Carson, a world renowned retired neurosurgeon and a former GOP presidential primary rival of President Trump, was confirmed today by the Senate 58-41 as the President’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The votes were cast largely on party lines with Dr. Carson receiving full Republican support and some additional “yes” votes from a handful of Democrats, including Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown , the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs who issued the following public statement: “Despite my reservations, and my disagreements with some of his positions, I will give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt based on commitments he has made to me in person and to this Committee in his testimony and written responses.”
Interestingly enough, Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren voted for Carson in committee. “Dr. Carson’s answers weren’t perfect. But at his hearing, he committed to track and report on conflicts of interest at the agency,” Warren wrote. “If President Trump goes to his second choice, I don’t think we will get another HUD nominee who will even make these promises — much less follow through on them.”
However, she ultimately voted against confirming Carson when the vote went to the full senate. Many say that Warren buckled under political pressure from other Democrats.
The Democrat argument against Carson largely stems from his lack of experience in government. They have questioned whether he is up to the task of running the $49 billion agency, which has 8,000 employees. Carson actually stayed away from the Health and Human Services Secretary position for which Dr. Tom Price was recently confirmed, because he had reservations about his ability to run such a large government agency.
Democrats are also concerned that Carson, who holds strong conservative views, might seek to cut HUD funding.
Also, while Carson supports the Fair Housing Act of 1968, he has not been specific as to whether he will support a provision called “affirmatively furthering fair housing,” a 2015 federal rule that empowered HUD to use federal grants to facilitate neighborhood integration. In the past, Carson has described the rule as “social engineering.”
Dr. Ben Carson largely focused on his experience growing up as a disadvantaged youth in the projects of Detroit to advocate for his candidacy to become the nation’s 17th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Carson is the first African-American member of President Trump’s cabinet.
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