WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement on the Senate vote to confirm Dr. Ben Carson to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Dr. Ben Carson has an inspiring life story and became a legend in neurosurgery at Maryland’s own Johns Hopkins University. As impressive as his medical resume might be, he is not the right choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, one of our federal government’s most complex agencies. In addition to the many housing programs administered by the agency, it also plays a role in national housing finance reform. It had a budget of $49.3 billion in FY 2016 and manages approximately 1.2 million housing units nationwide. While Dr. Carson is a smart and capable person, he does not have any government experience, management experience or housing policy experience.
“My concern is heightened because HUD has a very tangible impact on people’s lives. Dr. Carson would oversee an agency with the broad power to shape cities like Baltimore, where about 27,000 families live in HUD subsidized housing or receive the department’s help to pay their rent.
“I am also deeply troubled that Dr. Carson’s political beliefs are simply antagonistic to the critical goals of our HUD programs. He has said that the Affordable Care Act is ‘the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery.’ On HUD in particular, he has expressed disdain for the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which requires communities to address segregation: ‘Based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.’ His belief in the ineffectiveness of all government assistance programs, coupled with his strong campaign statements on spending cuts are also troubling. While I understand that he has walked back much of this rhetoric during his confirmation hearing, and has taken positions on some housing-related policies that I agree with, I remain concerned that his initial comments were more reflective of his true beliefs and not just what he thought the committee wanted to hear.
“I appreciate Dr. Carson’s willingness to serve our nation, but HUD is not the place for him.”