HUD Secretary, Deputy Secretary Face Questions over Proposed HUD Budget
HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Deputy Secretary-designate Pamela Patenaude recently defended the Trump administration’s HUD budget at separate committee hearings in the Senate. Secretary Carson appeared before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Nearly every Subcommittee member criticized the administration’s proposal to reduce funding for HUD programs and terminate some, particularly the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-ME) told Carson that, for Republicans, CDBG should be a very appealing program as it allows communities to “tailor” federal funding to “meet their local needs.” Carson defended the budget by arguing that HUD has to adopt a “mind-set of doing more with less” and promote programs that support a path to self-sufficiency. Regarding CDBG, Carson contended that the program was an inefficient use of federal funding, noting that “HUD’s primary mission is to provide safe, affordable housing, with a special emphasis on those who are the most vulnerable.” He said CDBG provides only 25 percent of its dollars for that purpose.
Pamela Patenaude, the President’s nominee to serve as Deputy Secretary of HUD, also faced questions about the administration’s budget request for HUD during a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee to consider her nomination. Committee Democrats, while acknowledging Patenaude’s experience and qualifications, pressed her for her thoughts on the administration’s proposed cuts to housing programs. In response to questions from Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patenaude said that she supported Trump’s proposed budget for HUD but stressed that she did not play a role in drafting it.