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tv   Housing Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson at Oversight Hearing  CSPAN  March 23, 2018 6:07pm-8:01pm EDT

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kennedy was assassinated, television coverage was nominated by violent clashes between chicago police and protesters at the democratic national convention. richard nixon won a decisive victory for joining us on the program former presidential candidate pat buchanan who served under president nixon and reagan and also the author of the greatest comeback, how richard nixon rose from defeat to create the new majority and barbara perry, director of presidential studies and codirector of the presidential oral history program at the university of virginia, watch 1960: america in turmoil, live sunday at 8:30 p.m. eastern on washington journal and on american history tv on c-span3. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington dc and around the
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country. c-span was brought to you by our cable andco satellite provider. >> yesterday hud secretary ben carson testified before senate committee about president trumps 2019 budget request for his department and his department's priorities. the budget proposal is a little over $41 billion that is down about $6 billion last year. was also asked about the purchase of a $31000 dining room set for his office in an ongoing inspector general inquiry. [inaudible conversations]
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>> this hearing will come to order. today the committee will receive testimony from doctor ben cars carson, the 17th secretary of housing and urban development. welcome back, mr. secretary. >> thank you. >> over the past year secretary carson had made significant strides in his efforts to make hud programs more effective and efficient. his embarked upon a multi- link listening to travel this country to develop a deeper understanding of the effect that hud policies have on a portable housing practitioners and families who are the most vulnerable. not long after returning from the to work secretary carson took on a major leadership role in coordinating hurricane relief efforts in texas, florida, perrigo and the us virgin islands. providing both immediate and long-term relief to thousands of families who have been displaced from their homes and art without electricity. network continues.
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as a nominee just over a year ago factory carson testified before this committee about the importance of revisiting our nation's housing programs to ensure that families were struggling in america have the best opportunity to climb the economic and social ladder. to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and to become self-sufficient. secretary carson is also stressed the importance of aligning regulatory requirements in ways that incentivize participation in programs and eliminate undue burden on program participants, enhanced workforce majority and maximize the percentage of hud dollars to go straight to the families that need it. i cannot agree more with these goals and i think the secretary carson and his team are working with this committee to achieve these objectives. last week by voting and 67-31 to pass the consumer protection act the senate took a decisive step forward in addressing these issues.
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a lot of the debate on the floor last week highlighted by the legislative right sizes regulations for community banks and credit unions to promote economic development and lending. the bill also makes important improvements to housing programs and provides critical regulatory relief to over 1000 rural a small public housing agencies making it easier for them to develop new projects and coordinate with their neighbors. it ensures that more of their budgets go to families rather than legal paperwork. it makes it less expensive for nonprofits like habitat for humanity to build homes in underserved communities and makes a greater number of families eligible for hudson family self-sufficiency program and enhances the program so that it can offer new, additional services to participants. it permits renters to stay in their homes for at least 90 days
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after their home is foreclosed upon and permanently extends the amount of time a servicemember may stay in his or her home after returning from military service to one year for the home may be foreclosed upon. we hope this bill will soon be signed into law in today i look forward to hearing for more opportunities for us to keep moving forward, working together, to modernize and improve our housing programs. senator brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary, i'm glad you're here. had plays a critical role in the success of our housing market, our communities, our families, our goals as a nation so it is disturbing, extremely disturbing to read about one controversy after another at your department. ethics lawyers are inert, procurement guidelines got that, whistleblower spacing and discrimination, it goes on and on and on. instead of particulars possibility, mr. secretary, you seem to want to blame others.
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your wife picked out the furniture without knowing the price, your spokesman said something but not you and you shouldn't be blamed for not listening to your ethics lawyers and the press is unfair and it goes on and on and blaming others and seems to be the order of the day in the swamp. i thank you need to take responsibility and get things right. hud mission is too important to do otherwise. and getting things right in means fighting for the funding needed to help more people in this country get a roof over their heads. despite the importance of affordable housing it is increasingly out of reach and a quarter of all renters today pay over half their incomes for housing including 400,000 households in ohio alone. homelessness increased last year in the eighth year of the economic expansion, repeat that, homelessness increased while you were secretary of hud in the
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eighth year of an economic expansion beginning with auto rescue with president obama setting the course of that economic expansion. earlier this week one of our great ohio housing advocates described the crisis as a quote all hands on deck situation. hud chose to go awol instead rather than making new investments in affordable housing in our communities the budget proposal and there is no debate in this and the budget proposal adds to the ranks of the homeless. three months ago the administration was entirely unconcerned about the deficit when it chose to add more than a trillion dollars to our national debt over the next decade. say that again, when this congress passed the tax cut that went as we know overwhelmingly to the wealthiest people in our country it added a trillion dollars to the deficit and didn't seem to be much interest from you, the members of the cabinet, the president or members of his body in the majority about the national debt increase over the next decades. all of a sudden, secretary carson, in your colleague you
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have rediscovered grave concerns about the budget deficits, such that it is time to charge extremely poor people significantly higher rents. it is outrageous. the top 1% of the country and you and most members of the president's cabinet were among the top 1% in the top 1% of this country will eventually get 83% of the benefits of the trillion dollar tax cut in you and this administration think it is okay to charge for people more for their rights. use the deficit that this tax cut for millionaires and corporations will create hud proposals for some of the poorest households in this country must pay an increase of as much $1800 a year in rent. that is just shameful. all told, hud wants to charge an estimated $2 billion in higher rents to low income families through what you all call rent reforms. the miniature rate claims that it will recognize a greater role
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for state and local governments in the private sector. you always say that but federal assistance, you know, rich is only one out of every four eligible families, state and local governments are already strapped for cash to go anywhere in the country and asked the man. we know they don't have the capacity to take on those evicted by federal cuts without raising taxes and working families. last year secretary carson you reassured the public that hud's budget cuts, you said in this committee, the budget cuts would be offset in the administrations info structure package. i have no idea if you push the administration infrastructure package to live up to your promise but i do know that the president's proposal included did not include funding for housing infinity development despite your assurances quote, housing is part of the info structure in this country and will be treated as such. that is shameful, too.
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there is no funding for capital spending, public housing and despite a backlog of needed repairs of tens of billions of dollars. under your leadership, secretary carson, hud has decided a widely chair in a private dc dining room requires the urgent attention of no fewer than 16 staffers and thousands of taxpayer dollars. unsafe and unsanitary conditions of public housing that puts working families and children at risk and not our problem, you say. let them use structures. you are already on funding and you can't say everybody in public housing the shift to section eight and then not provide the money for it to happen. this budget is an embarrassment but getting the news out of late seems out of the department of all too common in this administration. >> secretary carson, we now turn to you and you can make your opening remarks and then will follow that with questions from the committee. please proceed.
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>> thank you. chairman, ranking member, members of this committee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the work we do at the department of housing and urban development in my plans for filling them professional mandate in the best american interest people. the president's budget proposal more than $41 billion for hud and 1.4% increase over last year's requests. we believe this is sufficient to effectively administer our core. programs continued assistance for those individuals who we currently serve. our most vulnerable population especially the elderly and persons living with disabilities. in addition the request level offense funding for the housing choice voucher program will continue to support the same number of households as we currently serve and should not
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result in termination of any housing vouchers. hud's budget would also make a significant investment to and homelessness. our budget proposes a record $2.4 billion to support thousands of local homeless assistance programs across the country. i'm all too familiar with the effects of lead exposure in the developing brain as a result we are requesting $145 million to ensure that homes are free of lead-based paint hazards and other dangerous contaminants. especially for families with small children. they also recognize that we need to do a better job respecting that the funds we spend ultimately belong to the public. consequently i have directed hud's new chief financial officer to design and implement a transformation plan and lead
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an internal task force within hud to combat waste, fraud and abuse. he has more than 36 private domestic experience and the perfect person to bring that business acumen to the task. if the chairman in spite of the billions of dollars we spent as a nation trying to keep pace with the capital needs of our public housing spot it has not worked. in fact, we are following further and further behind. this budget recognizes that we need another way and hud is proposing to permit from the current financially unsustainable public housing model and working with public housing authorities to seek a new way to produce and preserve affordable housing that so many families need. we are asking for the authority to give local, public housing authorities the flexibility to use their operating funds to support their capital needs. we are proposing to convert many more distressed public housing
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units to a project -based section eight financing model through the rental assistance demonstration or rant. it has stimulated more than $5 billion in private investment to preserve this housing. we put, it is working. the budget proposals opens the door wider and allows public to participate in this innovative approach. it is also supportive to sustainable homeownership. building household wealth of home ownership remains a keystone to helping americans climb the economic ladder of success. that is why we have taken several steps to ensure fha can continue to be a reliable source of mortgage financing in years to come. i'm also here today to repeat the request that you heard from us for many years now and from
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several administrations. we absolutely need to invest in fha information system. fha is built on a mainframe that is over four decades old. staff still works on paper case files creating inefficiencies and holding numerous quality control issues. if the chairman and members of the subcommittee last year was one of the most destructive in our nations history in terms of natural disasters with three devastating hurricanes and destructive wildfires and mudslides in california. hud is already supporting the long-term recovery that is taking place in texas, and the virgin islands. we have a lot of work ahead of us. since last september congress has appropriated more than $35 billion through hud's community development block grant disaster recovery program. we have allocated $7.4 billion in september and soon will be
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advocating another $20 billion. nearly every program they have staff working on this disasters many of whom have volunteered to travel to and serve on the front lines. my prayers are with those who are still struggling to recover and we will continue to stand with them to stand with them during the recovery process. before i conclude, i want to take a moment to commend you and your colleagues from both sides of the aisle for your work on s2155, the economic growth regulatory relief and consumer protection act. this legislation contains a number of common sense housing provisions including regulatory relief for small, rural pha's, streamlining the hud family sufficiency's and important protections for veterans with federally backed mortgages. in closing, mr. chairman, the essential mission is to provide
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safe, fair and affordable housing for the american people. our mission also supports opportunity and self-sufficiency so that families can move toward economic independence. i am eager to work with congress and all the members of this committee to achieve what i believe are common goals to better serve our fellow americans. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. we appreciate you being here with us today. i assure you there is strong support for the commitment you made to improving and strengthening affordable housing in america and we appreciate the efforts that the agency is putting into it. i also appreciate your comments card to the recent legislation we passed in the senate and that is where i will focus my questions. s2135 would streamline regulatory requirements for paul small public housing and
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[inaudible] exemptions from environmental review requirements and shared waiting lists. the feedback i received from the small physics housing authorities are these forms would benefit residents, local housing authorities and other sponsors of public housing and public housing choice voucher programs. purcell, do you agree with that analysis and could you explain how this would help? >> yes, i do agree with them very strongly. these are common sense solutions and take into account the differences the small pjs and large ones and now they can focus their attention on services for the people as opposed to filling out endless forms. i'm sure they are extremely grateful for this. >> thank you. one more question on that bill. s215 would also enhance hud's family sufficiency programs by expanding two more hud assistant families in enabling current
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participants to get job training, education and child services as a save up to financial independence. can you talk about how these provisions will of the families receiving housing and help them achieve economics billy? >> yes, this is exactly what we need to be doing. by amalgamating the programs self-sufficiency programs for both the public housing and the section eight program's a lot of the sufficiency and savings have occurred and we can move people toward better education, jobs, and decreasing debt, increasing savings and making them much more a part of the american dream. that is why such a strong supporter of self-sufficiency asked. in the past one of the things we've been guilty of and we
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collectively as a government is we tend to pull the support from people when they begin to climb the ladder of self-sufficiency. we are acutely aware of that and work with you all to make sure that we are not sending the wrong messages to people. >> thank you. now i want to turn to one of our next. high priorities in the committee, housing finance report. we are now approaching a full decade since buddy and danny were taken. finding a solution remains a top priority for me and, for all of us. can you speak to the role hud is played and will continue to play in exploring opportunities for housing finance reform? >> obviously, hud is the home of fha and jenny may and fha has a portfolio one point to trillion dollars and jenny ma may $1.9 billion so you're talking over it's an important
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player and this whole discussion about finance form. also, fha has been the one who has concentrated on first-time homebuyers on minorities and people who frequently have not benefited as much from the private sector lending facility. we must continue that strong, component if you want these people to be able to realize the american dream itself. also, in terms of making sure that their housing practices prevail through our system that is something we are very, very concentrated, much concentrated on. we are making sure that we maintain the financial stability
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of the system with such things as the mandated 2% capital ratio. things have been done to make sure that we maintain that against popular demand. >> thank you very much. senator brown. >> you testify and you begin your testimony by saying this year's request is 1.4% above last year's request but i need a yes, sir no answer because of a lot of things i want to cover but it is a 14% cut from fiscal year 2017 and acted level? >> yes. >> piggyback. give support to put that out there and not to mislead that it's a 1.4 increase from a proposal that was ignored by this congress last year. one of your proposals would charge mandatory minimum rents
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and what is the annual income of a typical family that would be effected by this policy change? >> most of these families are obviously distressed and i think the number you are probably looking for is about 9,870,000. >> i'm not looking for a number i just want the tax. how much will he be charged on your policy? >> the charge is going to be 30% of the income and for those who artwork able i don't have any things that are impending upon them, 35% of growth ...
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is that what you became secretary of hud for? >> one thing i think is very important is that we be realistic about our budgets. >> you all supported the tax cut and you want to make up for it by charging someone making $5000 a year, $150 extra month. you call that. [inaudible] >> we passed the threshold in terms of the national debt. if we continue to accumulate. >> i don't need the lecture mr. secretary.
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now it's time to talk about the budget deficit, maybe you should've thought ahead as you thought to cut low funding for low income. they spent 50% or more of their income for housing. one thing happens in their lives in is just a downward spiral. 5200 ohioans died for drug overdoses in 12 months measured by the most recent cdc report. that's a 36% increase from august to august spread that understates. [inaudible] you hired someone with no experience to work on this issue at hud. is that true. >> there was someone hired. i just don't get involved with lower-level. >> okay you don't get involved
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in table selection. your wife does even though she's not a federal employee pretty don't get involved in ethics issues. >> if you throughout these kind of charges you should give me an opportunity to answer. >> i will when i'm finished with the last question. why did you choose and why did he resign. we had technological advancemen advancement. i lost confidence in his ability to lead. he is the contractor to a contractor to hire a friend. do you think it would be better to advertising compete for these jobs rather than hiring cronies through a sub contractor. >> i do not hire cronies and subcontractors. i don't do that. >> hud seems to, under your
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leadership. >> why did they leave this week after the story hit the media? >> is that the first you've known about it. >> as soon as i found out about the problem, we dealt with them. >> does it bother you that you don't know these things are going on. >> i don't think that's a fair characterization. these are pretty high political people. >> one was high-profile. we dealt with it. >> i voted for you, to confirm you. i'm not sure i made the right decision. >> little different tone now. you've been here a year as
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secretary more or less. what are some of the things you've got your arms around, what are some of the accomplishments. >> there have been a multitude of things. the first thing i was hit with was the demand that we proceed with the 25 basis point reduction in the insurance premium and that have been put in place by the administration without a lot of thought. >> they pay people a lot of money. >> and i thought it would allow people to be purchase more homes. we thought it was done inappropriately and said hold on, let's look at this. we have to maintain that 2% capital ratio.
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we maintain the 2.0 nine. if we had gone with the 25 basis point reduction, we would've ended up with a 1.76 and we would've had to come to the treasury to borrow money like we did in 2013 and this whole hearing would've been about that. >> as you look forward now, what are still, you've been here one year, what are your biggest challenges? i know there's a lot of them in hud. >> homelessness is a big one. >> isn't there some connection to our challenge in our communities of mental health of all of our people and homelessness? i know in my hometown of tuscaloosa, a lot of the homeless, maybe not everywhere, but a lot of the homeless are deeply challenged with mental health. >> absolutely. that is a huge problem. >> we made a mistake about 30 years ago with some of our
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rulings to take these people out of a setting where they could be easily taken care of, and we have an obligation to take care of those people. >> what are some of the other challenges that you're trying to get your arms around? >> we have the superfund problem going on in various places around the country, dilapidated housing and many places. >> expand on dilapidated housing because i feel everywhere. i see it in birmingham. i see them in atlanta and chicago and i see it everywhere. >> for instance, there was horrible oversight there by the housing authority in these places are totally uninhabitabl uninhabitable. we had to come in and find a way to house those people in a relatively quick manner. there are other places, you look at what's happening in
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niger, there are issues going on and were trying to address them a look at why these things happen in the first place, we've had to get rid of dozens of inspectors who have consistently been providing inappropriate scoring. there are a number of other underlying issues that have to be taken care of in order to create the right kind of platform so we don't have these problems. >> what you expect to accomplish? if everything worked out for you, say in another year, what would you hope to get your hands around. >> i want us to get systems in place and the kind of operating controls in place at hud so we don't have things being done in an inappropriate way. this whole furniture issue is an example of that.
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we are putting in control so that doesn't happen while i'm here or after i leave. i think that's vitally important. it saves taxpayer money. i also want us to change the image from that of just trying to get more people into a program, into one where we actually provide people with a letter to be able a ladder to escape. we are working through the envision centers concept because there is a lot of need in our country and there's also a lot of resources, a lot of people who are actually compassionate, but the two generally are not juxtaposed. we will juxtapose those and i think there i will make an extremely big difference. we are also enhancing section three. it's been on the book for 50 years. we will put some teeth into it so that we can increase the workforce and also give people the kind of skills which will
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allow them to escape dependency. it's really about empowering our people and yes we need more affordable housing, we need to look at creative ways to create affordable housing and we also need to look at ways to move people out of affordable housing in a positive sense and make more room for others so we don't have these long waiting list and we need to look at it from both ends. >> senator menendez. >> welcome mr. secretary. in an interview with the new york times last may, after visiting low income housing in ohio, you cautioned against making housing a comfortable setting that would make anybody want to stay. i will just stay here and they will take care of me was your quote. apparently your aversion to comforts don't float your office. in response to news reports you had ordered a 31000 dining
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room set, a hud spokesman said mrs. carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased. when you were asked this in the house you said you did not intend to be responsible for what anyone else said which is an extraordinary statement because we are all responsible for what our spokespeople say. if he was wrong, he should've had the record set straight. given what your spokesperson said, he your post on facebook can only be read to indicate that you had no prior knowledge of the furniture selection. you said i was apprised of anyone to find out that a $31000 dining rooms that had been ordered. but, in a chain of e-mails dating back to august of last year, staff at the department referred to the few mergers that that the secretary and mrs. carson picked it out. let me ask you. why did you mislead the
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american public, the taxpayers that funded the department's activities and tell them that you are not aware of this purchase when it was indisputable that you were involved in selecting this furniture set. >> it's not indisputable. i wrote in the post on the fifth what my involvement was. it said there very clearly what the involvement was. >> so all those e-mails of your staff were wrong, here's spokesperson was wrong, it's unbelievable. >> what e-mails. >> the e-mails go back to august 2017th and refer to the furniture set that the secretary and mrs. carson picked out. did they make that up west mark. >> no, but i indicated that we were involved because they asked us to be involved to pick something and that i thought the pricing was too high. here's the bottom line. the bottom line is the
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furniture is not at hud and there is no charge to the american people, to the taxpayer. >> because only because the issue was raised. >> and we have put special, or i've asked the cfo to put in place what we need to make sure this doesn't happen again. >> when we go to a different set of questions. january 5, 2018, is it true that the department issued a notice effectively delaying the fair housing rule a long-overdue role to help communities address regulation and meet obligations on fair housing act. >> it is true to say that we have been asked by dozens of minutes appellees to hold off on that because it was costing them $800,000. >> yes it has delayed. >> and they were not able
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to -- >> yes it has been delayed. >> is it true that the 2019 budget request three and half million dollars less than 2017 inactive levels for fair housing. >> yes or no. >> it is not a simple yes or no. >> whether there's three have million dollars last. >> it doesn't take a brain surgeon to understand while there's three and half million dollars less in the budget. >> what is important is what are we attempting to do? >> is it true, i would like you into my question since you are rarely here before the committee on housing issues. this is the first time since your nomination. is it true that they are considering changes to the mission statement? i read that the department confirmed that it is considering changes to its mission statement including to remove references to inclusive
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communities and communities free from discrimination. >> it is not at all unusual when a new secretary comes in to change the mission. >> and to take those statements. >> at the senior staff level we have discussed changing it. the first iteration is the one you read from. the next iteration was after we had gotten input from all the staff, all 7000 people who work at hud. that was my instruction. that it got out and became a news story and that was not the intention. >> look. let me close by saying mission statements might not be policy directives but in this case you have established a pattern and practice of suggesting that hud intends to reverse course and ignored statutory obligations to ending discrimination and promoting inclusive community. >> that is not something many of us will stand by.
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>> i will stand by it either. that's not at all what were doing. >> senator scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here. but i'm not sure you realize that you signed up to be a human piƱata but so far it has been a bit challenging this morning and part of it has been around the issue of the table. folks were seeing that as an opportunity to delve into some important questions and issues, as opposed to the focus and the attention you have given to had and self-sufficiency. i would love for you too opportunity to answer the question on record and as related to the overall spending you have seen where you have authorized in heard around refurbishing, refinishing, decorating, please put that to rest for a. >> thank you. the initial stories talked
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about extravagant taste of my wife and decorating my office, we spent a total of less than $3500 decorating my office, considerably less than the historical norm. the second story, it's not a table, it 17 pieces of furniture that we were asked to replace because it could no longer be repaired after multiple attempts to repair it. the bottom line is, that table has not materialized and there is no cost to the people. none whatsoever. not even a penalty cost for whomever initially ordered it. also, we have taken advantage of the opportunity to put in place controls to make sure that this process is done
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correctly and even though i wasn't aware of the 5000-dollar requirement, i still take responsibility for it as the head of the agency and i take responsibility for fixing it and we have done. >> thank you. let's talk about hud and the responsibilities of hud. you were kind enough to start listening to her around this country to understand and appreciate the severity of the problem of housing. you were born and lived in poverty and i lived in a single-parent household and understand the fragile nature of housing for those folks who are leaving close to the edge and sometimes under the edge. you spent some time in south carolina looking at the benefits of historic preservation tax credit and the power of making housing more affordable. part of the legislation that you mentioned is the self-sufficiency act that has a pathway to a better future.
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you talk about the importance of legislation as well as our conversation yesterday around the opportunity zones and the opportunity for us to leverage public dollars and do something significant to those folks living in public assisted housing today. >> thank you so much. first of all emma for the tremendous effort that you've put into family self-sufficiency. these people are resources for this country and we need to be thinking about how to we develop people, not spending so much time talking about objects and houses. houses are an important part of the development of a person in giving them the kind of foundation that they need. i am absolutely thrilled with the public-private partnerships and some of the things i saw in south carolina with you, how you are able to convert a place that was
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previously a refuge for drug addicts and people who were selling drugs and all kinds of criminal activity, prostitution, et cetera, and change it to a flourishing community and the key being by bringing the private sector into the equation, they now have an interest in the maintenance of that facility. there are a number of different types of family self-sufficiency programs. one that we are proposing would take part of the monthly subsidy and put it into an escrow account. you're very familiar with that concept, and that escrow is tied to that particular unit and all the routine maintenance comes out of that escrow. if the screen always needs to
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be replaced, is coming out of that. if you always calling the plan of jim plummer, that's coming out of there but if you learn to lift the lid fix the plumber, it's growing. within a number of years you get that entire amount for down payment because as you know, that is one of the major impediments for poor people being able to buy a home. they may be able to maintain it but they would never be able to get it in the first place. they've also learned how to think like a homeowner. that is really what the self-sufficiency programs are about, getting to them to the point were they can accumulate savings and take advantage of educational opportunities and get the training they need and provide daycare for women to get their ged or their associates degree or bachelors degree and help them be self-sufficient and teach that their children and break the cycle of poverty. >> i will just wrap up with just a few thoughts. first, i appreciate your
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panoramic view of the whole person and looking for way to move folks toward self-sufficiency. as we continue to focus on the actual job of the hud secretary, we will be surprised and pleased with the outcome, with the distraction we've seen in the news is not helpful whatsoever. i appreciate you taking responsibility as adjusted, and i appreciate the fact that you have set internal controls so won't be repeated a number three, i hope you all that leads back to what you should be focused on which is the incredible human potential that resides in so many places. it only means hope and opportunity and a pathway carved forward to make the decision to move forward. i know they want to and they will given the opportunity. the rest of it should be moved out of the way so they can move ahead.
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>> thank you. that's very encouraging. >> senator jones. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you secretary for being here. i'd like to talk, as i understand it, the department's budget proposal is to eliminate funds for community development block grants. in my stated, it's been impacted a lot by block grants particularly in regard to sewers. we have problems with sanitation and sewer systems that are outdated. raw sewage is backing up into homes and i know that's not the case for everyone but at the serious album in alabama. i haven't seen a certain infrastructure dollars
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available for sewer project so how would you address come in the housing context, an issue for sewer? >> thank you for that question and congratulations on your election first of all we have had a very positive impact in many areas of the country. there also have been problems with directing the funds to the people who are supposed to be impacted which is the low income individuals. other mechanisms were taken care of but there are billions of dollars in the pipeline already. it will take more than a year to disperse those funds. with the opportunity zones, i hope you're becoming familiar with, it will be possible to
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address many of the same types of issues while encouraging a tremendous input of private capital. >> i appreciate the fact that you have money in there. i invite you to come to alabama to see some of this. i'm all in favor of opportunities, i think that's a great idea but you really expect a new york investor to invest money in one of the poorest counties in alabama? you really think that something an investor will do? >> when it's incorporated into a much larger project, when it's incorporated into the whole are area, very frequently you have to deal with the infrastructure problems as well. you have to do deal with the housing problems. >> i really question whether we will get that private investment in the areas that
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are impacted most in rule america. be that as it may, i'm hoping congress will continue to fund those grants. the other thing i want to follow up with senator shelby's question about the dilapidated house and that you recognize. the administration proposed to eliminate the housing capital fund that repairs this. it is aging. we have $50 million that usually comes in in alabama and those funds are also desperately needed. how you want to make up that difference to address the needs that you yourself recognized in your answer to senator shelby. >> one of the things i've noticed is that we are not building a lot of public housing anymore.
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it generally tends to fall into disrepair simply because there isn't the local interest. through things like the rad program which has been extremely successful, 88000 units have been revamped that way. those things have been working very, very effectively. that coupled with money that will be brought in to the opportunity zone will take care of a lot of issues. we are looking to unleashing in excess of $2 trillion. those are major changes. >> i hope you're right product
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question whether there will be that kind of investment in these projects for they don't make a lot of money. there's not that much of a return. i hope they will continue to fund the program as well as development block grants. >> i appreciate your effort. >> the one thing i would say and i know my time is up, i appreciate the fact that despite all the destruction, i know you're focusing on trying to lift people up pretty think that's a good thing but i just want to ignore the fact that there a lot of people you just can't lift up, you just can't quite make it. we need to be there for those people continually. >> i agree we need to be there
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for them but that is why we are embarking on the envision center project because we want to put the resources in place conveniently for the period the reason you are successful and i'm successful is that there are people in our environment that helped us along the way. nobody makes on their own. >> we can agree on that. thank you. >> senator tell us. >> thank you, mr. chairman. doctor secretary carson, thank you to the committee. when we met in the office we talked a little bit about how i thought you could be a change agent in the department and identify programs that are working and double down on them and identify programs that are not, returning the value and take the tough political position to put this
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money to a better purpose but i think the reduction of reducing your resources right now is premature. i think you probably need what you have and probably some more. what progress have you made in terms of looking at the department and trying to affect change so we know that we are getting the best value in having the best impact on the people who needed. >> thank you for asking that question. we've made an enormous amount of progress. in terms of stabilizing the insurance fund and stopping the hemorrhaging coming from reverse mortgage program, stopping the pace loans, stopping the churning in strengthening the program and other homelessness program,
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this is one of the reasons we've asked for more for homelessness than ever before, but looking at the actual numbers, we are looking at the ones that actually work. evidence-based changes. looking internally, this is the first time we've had a cfo in years. what happens when you don't have a cfo and a large organization? you develop multiple silos, every one of which thanks they are doing things the correct way. we are bringing that all under one dome. i think that's making a very large difference in ruffling some feathers in some places but people don't like change. that's okay. it's change for the good.
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>> mr. secretary, i didn't plan to speak about it but senator jones prompted a thought that has to do, i think it's very important to hold the line on identifying as many people you can lift out mainly because that will provide you with more resources as senator jones have stated it may not. i think we have to constantly make sure we've got that balance right so we can have that impact that changes the trajectory of someone's life. maybe with additional resources they can be lifted out of their circumstances. but i think someone in those circumstances and it relates from the question about a month ago i was in nashville
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where i spent my junior year in high school. i lived in a trailer park. i went to sugarcane lane who was the trailer park i lived in and it made me think about manufacturing housing. when i lived there, i moved out and i don't think most people recognize that the regulatory burden that we place on the citizens of the united states hit the poorest among us. what are you doing, it's more
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of a blade level so you may not be able to answer the question specifically but it's one example of regulatory streamlining and regulatory relief that i think we need to focus on and there's a number of others. >> i'm glad you brought that up. >> manufactured housing counts for 22 million households. it is actually a potential solution for some of the housing issues, particularly in rural areas. if you look at the progress that has been made in manufactured housing, it's amazing. a lot of the housing, you would not be able to distinguish from site built housing and yet the pricing is better. the regulation are ridiculous. we are inspecting from top to bottom all of the regulations and getting rid of a lot of them because i think this is
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an area where we can take advantage. >> thank you mr. secretary. i want to go back to the question asked by the ranking member and budget priorities. as you agreed, the proposal that was put forward was a 14% cut from what had actually been provided the year before. it does go to the question of priorities. are you pleased with what you have seen of the current budget proposal working its way through the congress on a bipartisan basis? >> it could be improved. there's no question. we will work with what we had. the whole budgetary process is not a simple one. we make proposals.
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it's congress who establishes what the budget is. >> in terms of the overall levels for hud, it substantially more than you asked for are you pleased with the increase that was provided by congress. >> i am happy that we will be able to do even more. >> i was just reading a tweet from the president of the united states that he was praising the funds for the defense and military which has bipartisan support. congress has been working on a bipartisan basis. then he said had to waste money on democratic riverways. you don't believe that the budget here for hud is a giveaway, do you? >> i wouldn't use those terms
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but i would point out by the year 2048, everything we taken will be used to service the deb debt. >> mr. secretary, ben talk about the dangers of the debt for very long time. i think the ranking member pointed out that for the president to sign something that just added 1.5 trillion to the debt. so you zeroed out two years in a row in your proposal, the congress restored those fundings and i know there's a number of projects that are still working their way to the pipeline, but that is an oversubscribed problem. the demand in the state of maryland is much larger than the resources provided and it's interesting when we provided hurricane relief, a huge amount of that money went
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in the form of cdbg, did it not. >> remember, with hurricane relief you talked about cdbg dr, completely different program. >> but one of the benefits of that program is the money is flexible and can go to local jurisdictions for needs. >> that's not true. dr is very targeted. >> but i actually have, and i'm also looking out the regulations you had that went through the accompanied chen accompanied the money for hurricanes it was something that i thought was a good policy and there which is that you say we shouldn't be using these federal funds to rebuild in areas where you have floodplains, and it's important to take into a count the continued sealevel rise. can you explain why that's important to have that as part of the regulations. >> because it doesn't make any sense to create the circumstances for the same thing to occur once again. that includes looking at things like building materials and perhaps, instead of just using drywall and creating the same problem if you have a flood, using some of the aqua
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phobic materials that repel water zero have a problem again. we are looking at all those things. >> i appreciate that. mr. chairman, i would like to put in the record and article, washington times where hotel states to consider sealevel rise when rebuilding from storm. >> i think this was a good policy. i hope you will talk to the president about it because one of the first things the president did was reverse an executive order from the previous administration that applied that commonsense principal. the same goes for federal funding through hud, it doesn't make sense to invest taxpayer dollars in places where won't go. mr. chairman, as we consider the flood reform legislation, i really hope will focus on this and i appreciate the secretaries testimony.
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i hope you will go back as you look at that hud mission statement, the omission in the current draft of inclusive communities free of discrimination, i think the concern is some of the policies that you have taken in your early opposition for the provisions put forward to prevent the concentration of poverty and the use of vouchers, that sends a signal and when you see a proposed change in mission statement on top of that, it is troubling. it's a real concern about actions out there suggesting a real concern. >> that is in fact the reason that i wanted input from all 7000. i didn't want input from all the news media, but we got it anyway. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. welcome back. i will harp on the same thing because it is a crisis in this country, particularly in nevada which is an affordable housing crisis. nearly every community in this nation has an affordable rental housing crisis and its worst in nevada. families earning 30,000 dollars a year are unable to find an affordable home. for every 100 low income families there are only 15 affordable apartments. high rents are driving thousands into homelessness. our waiting list is tens of thousands with families waiting years for help. yet, this is the second year in a row this administration plan to eviscerate the inadequate funding we provide for affordable housing. thank goodness congress provides the funding and saw the need to ensure we are showing up those resources for
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affordable housing. what i would like to know, now that you have those resources, what is your plan to help us address the affordable housing crisis. >> one of the things that has really impressed me, i've traveled around the country and it's places like liberty square, you may be familiar with that in miami. one of the notoriously horrible public housing sites, that through the public private partnerships is going from 700 units to 1600 and developing a holistic community. those are the kinds of things that i like. you look at east lake in atlant atlanta. now one of the top two charter schools in the neighborhood that is flourishing and trying to keep people from the outside from coming in and taking over.
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>> i'm talking about a affordable housing. not just section eight. also housing for those who want to rent a home because they can't afford to purchase it and they can't afford the rent. >> those are affordable subjects i just talked about. >> and there's housing that's not affordable as well protect me about what hud is specifically doing, what programs, what are you doing to address this need in our community and working with state and local communities. >> there is a push to enhance section three and make it just a suggestion. >> what you mean by push to enhance. >> section three has been on the books for 50 years. it has seldom been used because it's easy for people to find excuses not to use it. we are tightening that up to make use of it. i was in chicago recently and an entire building is being redeveloped by section three workers.
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they were incredibly proud of the work they were doing but more importantly they were gaining skills that would allow them to move out which made room for others. >> what else are you doing. >> we are increasing the number of units in the rad program. other types of public private partnerships will be enhanced to the opportunity zone with an enormous amount of infusion of private capital into these distressed areas. >> okay. >> can i get a commitment from you that you will work with us on addressing affordable housing and specifically identify the programs within hud and your agency that are geared toward addressing this issue?
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>> i would be more than happy to do that. that is what we are trying to do. >> when you appeared before this committee prior to your confirmation, you promised me that lgbt individuals would not be facing discrimination. after some of the concerning comments you've made about lgbt q people, u.s. shirt i would enforce all the laws of the land and i believe all americans should be protected by the law. instead you've continue to undercut provisions and hud's efforts to end discrimination. on july 6, 2017, we sent a letter to the department requesting that you reinstate resources that were on your agency's website that protect lgbt q people from housing discrimination and i still have not received a response. what has been the delay? is it normal for your agency to take nine months to respond. >> first of all, we finally got a general counsel in
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december. i don't think you can have it both ways. >> what does that mean. >> that means you can't tell us to deal with this complex issue and not give us the people we need to do it. >> a complex legal issue that was already determined by legal counsel in the ministration prior to you? you failed to make changes, and then think you need. >> a complex legal issue that must take into account the rights of all the constituents who are involved and not just one point of view. >> i'm not sure i understand what you're talking about but i would appreciate rapid quick response. >> are you saying you still need legal counsel that you want to prohibit discrimination. >> we have spent a lot of time talking about this issue since the general counsel has been there and i think there's going to be something going up
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for a soon. we very got something going up about homeless children who are being affected. it is an issue we are truly concerned about the has to be done the right way. >> i know my time is up. i appreciate the ranking member and the chairs indulgence. thank you. >> senator one. >> thank you, mr. chairman. 50 years ago congress passed the fair housing act that housing determination is still a huge problem in this country. according to a recent study minority borrowers were more likely to be denied a mortgage than similar white powers in 61 cities across this country. hud is responsible for combating housing determination and during your confirmation process, ask you about your commitment to enforcing laws against housing discrimination despite whatever personal feelings you had about those laws and you
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said, at that hearing, i will follow the law. i remember hoping that was true so secretary carson, it has been a year, can you name a few of the things you have done to reduce housing discrimination in your time at hud? >> first of all, we are constantly involved in lawsuits that we have brought against people. >> sore using you've initiated many lawsuits over the past year? is that what you're saying. >> yes, that is an ongoing process. >> how many lawsuits? >> i can tell you how many. we can get someone to follow up with you. >> anything more? >> i think that is avidly very important. the way i look at it is when i talk about fair. >> i'm sorry, i'm not asking you to get into your description but i just want to
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know what you've done to reduce the specific things you've done to help reduce housing dissemination and you said you initiated many lawsuits and yoga back to me on the exact number but i just want to know other specific things you have done. anything more. >> i would simply say that what we do is try to create a fair environment for all people and all of our policies so when we create a fair environment for everyone that means minorities as well. >> that's a question i'm asking, dealing specifically with discrimination, mr. secretary, i wanted to give you a chance to make your case because when i look at your track record at hud, i just seeing you heading in the wrong direction which is going backwards but want to give you an example. the fair housing act directed hud to affirmatively further fair housing. that is the law. in 2015, hud implemented that mandate by issuing a rule that
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required communities that asked for blac block grants from hud to analyze obstacles that minority residents face and to propose plans to address them. civil rights groups and housing advocates said it would be an important tool for reducing segregation and discrimination. then you took over and you delayed the effective date of that rule until at least 2020. you even said hud wouldn't even review whatever information cities had about discrimination that they had already submitted to hud so, secretary carson, do you think delaying the 2015 hud rule for several more years has helped reduce housing discrimination. >> i hope you will give me an opportunity to answer that question. >> i hope you will answer it. >> first of all, we were petitioned by dozens of cities and his appellees to delay it
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because a cost between $10,800,000 to follow the regulations that were put in place and they had to hire two or three people. this is great if you have a lot of money. >> excuse me, let me just remind you, this is a question about following the law. the law clearly says affirmatively further fair housing. it doesn't say cut back on that because you're concerned about compliance cost. i have to say, i am very concerned that you put in jan compliance cost is your answer when how you previously described your real concern that this was a failed socialist experiment to try to reduce discrimination. let me ask about another example. the obama administration had issued a rule on housing
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vouchers that made a critical change in how the value of the housing voucher was calculated. it was called the small area fair market, fair rent roll. the obama administration had collected mountains of data showing that changing the calculation would reduce segregation in certain areas but when you took over you try to delay the effective date for another two years. did you think delaying the effective date of this rule would reduce housing discrimination? >> first of all, we didn't delay it. >> you tried. >> let me tell you what we did. we set those municipalities that are not ready to implement it because we had multiple people and they said we can't do this, we said you have another year to get ready. for the ones who were ready to do what we said you can do it right now or any tow anytime up until that year. we did not delay it. that was a mischaracterization. >> i'm sorry, reports were that you tried to delay it.
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>> those were the reports. that's not the fact. >> mr. secretary, a lot of people are criticizing you for spending tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on fancy furniture, and don't get me wrong. i think skimming the taxpayers is a scandal, 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. decades of housing discrimination has helped create an enormous wealth gap between white and black families and a gap between white ownership rates and black ownership rates is 30 percentage points larger than it was back in 1968. in 1968, the typical black family had 16 as much wealth as the goal white family. now it is one tenth. we have gone backwards since the civil rights era. it is hud's job to help and housing discrimination. that is what the law said.
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you said you would enforce these laws. you haven't and i think that's the scandal that should get you fired. >> i don't think you have characterized things in any way close to what is accurate, but you are welcome to say whatever you want. >> i really resent that remark. i have asked the question about how it is that the delaying of enforcement of rules that were already place to help and housing discrimination would help. isu to make your case and all you could say is that the marks were high. that does not explain how it is that you are going to delay enforcement of those rules and that was when help in housing. >> i think i expanded to quite well. [inaudible] we told them there's no delay if you're ready to do it. >> you want to look at the data that's come into hud. that's not a commitment to
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ending housing discrimination. >> senator reid. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. secretary, and several conversations before your nomination and otherwise we made the point about homelessness, we own a great deal to our veterans and it is discouraging to all of us when we see them without adequate housing and too many of them are in the situation. the council on homelessness will be doing reports in which we have requested, could you update the committee on your efforts that you've taken directly to address this issue of veterans homelessness. >> 1% of our population protects the other 99% of us and i think we all a great deal to our veterans. the program is responsible for 47% reduction in homelessness for veterans. we will continue to support
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that program and enhance it. also, many of our other homeless programs affect veterans but we've asked for a record amount of money from homeless programs this year including the continuous care program. the biggest problems are on the west coast in new york city. we will need a lot of help because we don't have jurisdiction.
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[inaudible] these are beautiful places and we are going to need help from congress and local and state government to be able to help rectify that situation, but across the rest of the country, not including the west coast and new york city, homelessness is actually going down and you've probably read many of the reports that a number of municipalities have declared victory when it comes to homelessness for veterans. >> in rhode island, a few years ago, ironically and unfortunately, our homeless population of veterans was going up and we are not alone.
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because of our small size, we are looking at estimates of about 89 homeless veterans in 2016. that's 95 now. it's just six or seven men and women but that's important to me. the other issue, i'm glad you put the emphasis on the hud -- program because unfortunately, the president requested, in fy 18, just $7 million of a $40 million program and nothing for fy 19. >> yes, the reason for that is because we have adequate vouchers that can be reissued. we do need some authority from congress to shift the vouchers around, but we have adequate numbers. when we get to a point where it's getting close, we will ask for more money. >> again, my concern is that it's more than close. you point out some of the higher-priced areas of the
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country where we could consider increasing a voucher and that would make a difference, but we just have too many veterans that are not housed to be sitting back and saying we don't need any additional resources. our hope was that we can provide $40 million for 5100 new housing vouchers for veterans. with the presence proposal that it be zero, we would have some real problems. the other issue is not just the veterans population but the chronically homeless. those people who consistently are unable to be housed despite efforts. sometimes they qualify the benefits or receive benefits but they just cannot find themselves into a permanent stable living arrangement. any comments or thoughts to
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identify or address these needs. >> for small we need to recognize that it actually cost more to keep a person on the street than it does to house a person. that's the whole concept between housing first which we appreciate and embrace, but i add to it housing second and housing third which means you can diagnose the reason and third you do everything you can to fix it. that, along with examining each of the homelessness programs in terms of their effectiveness is what is making a difference. >> someone did make a comment that homelessness had gone up on the watch of this administration. that .7% increase was from the homelessness count in january of 2017 which was for the year 2016, just to set the record straight. >> we have to do all we can to
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keep that record of decline accelerating not decelerating. that's one of the reasons we are funded the hud vouchers. >> i appreciate your attention to that. >> thank you. >> senator cotton. >> thank you. it's good to see you again. i want to talk about clean energy loans. we discussed this last year. in june 2016, the department of housing and urban development decided the federal housing administration would change of mortgage policy to start ensuring mortgages that have a pace lane. for those not familiar, those are collected through local taxing authorities. they do not go through under writing and they had super priority over mortgages.
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that meant, in default, the lender who install solar windows gets paid back before the mortgagor the taxpayer if that mortgage is insured by fha. there were horrible cases and instances of elderly widows being scammed down $50000 on loan chart level interest rates and we first discussed that back in april of 2017. i want sharia flyer that we recently came to see, i think it goes to show that these loans are placed in priority, no money down and clearly demonstrate if you just look at some of the language on this flyer that they are being marketed towards people who have bad credit or no credit and designed to skim out homeowners and ultimately the people from whom they borrow money or, in your case, the taxpayer who insures the mortgages.
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have bad credit? no problem. what qualifies is your property. the average $25000 which means they could be on the hook on the 2016 policy for up to $25000. i ask you to look at this and put on new guidance and i want to thank you for your decision in december, you announce a fha would no longer issue new mortgages on properties that included these pace loans. i just want to read briefly from a statement you issued because i found it very compelling. fha can no longer tolerate putting taxpayers at risk by allowing obligations like these to be placed ahead of the mortgage itself in the event of default. assessments such as these are dangerous for mutual mortgage an mortgage insurance fund and may have serious consequences on the ability to repay or refinance the mortgage and sell their home. thank you again for that decision. i want to point out to you that the senate recently passed the economic growth regulatory reform and protection act which included language from my bill that
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would subject these scammed loans to the truth in lending act, in your opinion does that represent a positive step forward for these consumers in the taxpayer. >> it has a huge step forward pretty just want to thank you for taking the lead on this because it was really you who brought this to my attention in the first place. we did act upon it and i do appreciate the fact that there is recognition that we actually do some good things. >> thank you. i hope the house passes it and the president can sign it into law in short order. when the vulnerable consumers are targeted to the skim loans, they will at least know the true terms that they are facing for the loan spread however, even if it passes into law and the truth in lending applies to pace loans, they would still have priority over mortgages so i assume that even up if that provision passes into law you will continue with your december 2017 decision that the fha will not have a pace
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lane on them. >> without question. >> thank you very much. >> senator donnelly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning. when you were nominated for this position, you committed both in my office and before this committee to personally visit and provide for hud resources to assesse assist east chicago and indiana were the lives of more than 300 families, including many children were at-risk due to significant lead and arsenic exposure. you did as you said, you supported the continued relocation efforts for those 300 families, you joined me in august of last year to visit the chicago and in september awarded $4 million to the east chicago housing authority for the safety, security and demolition of the contaminated complex. we are grateful for your attention and grateful for the commitments to the residents of the chicago.
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can i have your commitment that hud will continue to partner with east chicago as demolition of the housing complex is actually set to begin this month followed by a lengthy environmental cleanup and redevelopment effort that you will continue to be our partner in this effort? >> we will not only need to be your partner but this is an area in particular that super funds and we are concerned across the nation and putting a great deal of emphasis on credit has huge imprecations down the road in terms of the health of those children who are affected and also, the cost of dealing with the problems they develop. >> last week, the senate passed s2155, a package crafted by members of this committee, including myself. section 312 requires hud to report congress on its policies and enforcement related to lead-based paint hazard prevention and abatement. the report also requires to
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offer recommendations and best practices for itself, public housing agencies and landlords. it will ensure housing policies fully ensure the health and safety of our children. this legislation is at the house but are you willing to direct hud staff to begin this review immediately and instruct them to complete the report as soon as possible? >> yes, absolutely. i appreciate your leadership in this area. >> it is imperative that hud update its lead-based paint policies, particularly in housing with young peopl children. we can never allow another east chicago situation. the report we just discussed a minute ago is intended to require hud to take a holistic look at your policies. it's not intended to delay ongoing efforts in congress to enact a lead safe housing for kids, to require lead-based testing and risk assessment
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young children. senator scott menendez on this committee are also cosponsors of this bipartisan bill. as a medical doctor, deeply visual assessment alone is sufficient to identify the presence of lead based paint presents to ensuring their mental safety and health our children. >> i think there's a lot to be said for a visual inspection but no i don't think that is adequate and we are continuing to look at other things, there is a multi agency task force to look at environmental problems such as lead and we have talked about that. i actually would love to see universal screening for this. just make it part of the panel that we look at because sometimes we think this only affects people in a certain area, but it affects people everywhere. everywhere there is older housing, even in some of the mostly serious places in our country. the impact on those brains is
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going to be significant. i again want to thank you for leading down on this. >> thank you. one more question, as you know, 80% of global rv manufacturing occurs in my state. especially in the area of the county down the road from where i happen to live. as we've discussed many times, rvs are specifically dumped from housing regulations but however, due to technological industry advancements, the rv exemption that was written by hud in the 1980s is outdated and in desperate need of update. later today, secretary, you will receive a letter from me and several other senators urging hud to finalize its proposed rule from 2016 to properly exempt rv from manufactured housing regulations. when can we expect hud to finally complete this rulemakin rulemaking. >> as i mentioned earlier, probably before you came in, we are conducting a top to bottom review of all the regulations associated with
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manufactured housing. that will include the regulations putting rvs under hud's jurisdiction. >> thank you. thank you for your work. >> mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator kennedy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, how are you. >> doing well. >> please give my best to your better half. >> i will. >> i want to talk about two subjects. first, the flooding in louisiana. you are very generous with your time, you and mrs. carson came down into her louisiana. our flooding took place in the spring of 2016 in louisiana and south louisiana and august 2016. let's call it two years ago. the american taxpayer has generally given louisiana $1.3 billion to help us recover. that is the good news. the governor, in my state
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appointed a committee to disperse the money. we have had the money a long time. thank you very much. the governor's committee is a dispersing grand total $61 million out of $1.3 billion taxpayer now, everybody else has gotten paid including contractors, but our taxpayers are getting very much. i wish it tell you it's going to get better, that they have set up a bureaucracy down there to rival anything we've gotten in washington d.c. here's my question. we are probably going to be getting more money, thank you once again american taxpayer in cdb, cd g funds. you are in charge of it. i know you respect taxpayer money. unlike some. would you ask your folks please to try to help us
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ensure that that money is going to be spent on people and not on consultant consultants, not on contractors, not on people's friends, but to the people who fund it. just a thought, and please insist on that with this 800 million because the governor keeps asking me and senator cassidy, give us more money, give us more money, and my response has always been, john bell, the first question i always get is how much of it have you spent that we are ready gave you. >> you will be pleased to know that with the advent of our cfo, one of the very first things that we have begun to look at is the grant process,
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how the grants are given with the metrics and requirements particularly in terms of dissemination spending of the money. particularly for the reason that you just mentioned. that is something that you will be seeing results of quite quickly. also, with disaster funding in general, we have cut a large number of the regulations in order to get money into people's hands much faster, working with fema, working with sba and local state governments and officials, that is one of our prime goals and i think with the disasters that occurred last year, we have already seen a vast improvement and we will continue to work on that to improve. >> i've asked governor edwards to get rid of this committee and just take control of this thing himself and put a select group of people in charge and call them in and say, start
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just riveting this money to the real people who are hurt. i've been in government long enough to know that if he brings in four or five of them, at least one of them was a governor, it's really complicated and i need more money for administration. that's the one you fire. than the other for kind of realize your serious and if you could help us on this cdbg money to make sure they have a plan to spend it and the money will actually be spent on people and not the consultants, the we can try to help these poor folks. >> you and i are completely aligned on that. we will be working very hard with you. >> thank you for your leadershi leadership. don't let them get you down. >> they will try, but they won't. they just encourage me. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator kennedy. senator brown has asked for another round for more personal, another round for him to ask more questions.
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>> i'm not sure who this is. >> mr. sector, i think you again for being here. yesterday was with secretary shelton and the veterans community and i appreciate the efforts on hud and eliminating veterans homelessness that began several years ago that, as you said, has made progress. i don't understand what we know hud works and we know we put more money and had bash that secretary shelton. [inaudible] wire hud vouchers not increasing what we know they work. >> again, we based the request on what request on what people need.
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we have an adequate number of vouchers and an adequate number of vouchers that can be reissued. the biggest problem is that we don't have the authority to move the vouchers from a place where there is access to a place where they are needed. this is what we really need. we don't need to just throw my money. >> if that's the case, we will work with you. i've never heard that, but if that is case we will work with you to make that happen. >> a couple questions. you say you want to support self-sufficiency by increasing the number of people who leave the program with positive outcomes. that is an admirable approach. what you consider a positive outcome. >> i consider a positive outcome not requiring government assistance. >> and that's how you measure the outcome for family. >> i would consider that a positive outcome. >> two major negative outcomes. >> what you mean by that. >> do you measure an outcome is not positive if you don't consider it positive.
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>> in measuring the positive outcomes, you automatically measure the negatives. >> you break that down on how many people will lose housing under your proposal for rent reform. >> under our proposal we don't anticipate anyone losing housin housing. >> you increase $1800 a year and you don't think you'll lose people. where is that money from. >> one of the things we're doing is instead of requiring an annual assessment of income, it will be moved to every three years. in the past they had that ceiling and sat on a make any more money because it will cause my rent to go up. that doesn't happen now. that means are more likely to get into position where they are making more money and be able to get out of the housing.
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>> somebody is making three or $4000 a year end they don't want to make more because the housing would cost more. >> three or 4000, that's not the right number to make you said 9000. the number that was leaked seemed closer to three but i'll give you the nine peerages can imagine these calculations when people pay half the rent after income in housing that they're making that calculation that way. >> you probably also know that's not the complete number. >> it's a big part of the number. >> you indicated the reason for the poor repair of public housing is the lack of interest. should local government maintain these assets? is that what you're saying. >> when i talk about local interest, i'm talking about private-sector. of course local government should be involved as well but private-sector. >> but these people are keeping up their homes well enough, these very low income
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people have money, not enough money to paint or fix much of anything, it's kind of blaming them, right. >> no, not at all. >> is not keeping it up then. >> traditionally, if you know much about real estate, you know that whether it's government property or not, when people are there who are renters and don't have any particular dog in the fight, places tend to deteriorate. you know that, don't you. >> a dog in the fight and they don't also have money to keep it up. i understand the law of the commons patient the federal government be more of a partner? your cutting the budget to renovate and keep up and repair these homes when there's, isn't the real problem the lack of federal support for these homes. >> in terms of capital fund, for decades now we been putting billions of dollars
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into capital funds and what has happened? >> so let's just pull out money? you acknowledged that hud works better because we actually fund it. you've acknowledged that more money means in the response the budget from senator van hollen, more money in the budget means you can do more good things that money but you're advocating a smaller. >> i think you're a good man and i think you can understand what i'm about to say. >> we been putting a lot of money into these capital funds to maintain these buildings and the number that we need to maintain it keeps going up. therefore, what we need to do is look for a different way. we need to look for a better way to maintain and to redevelop these things. >> perhaps mr. secretary, but when a better way, when one in four people renting in this country spend more than half
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their income on housing, when one in four residents have homeowners and renters, one out of four those people of those residents, i'm one of them, you spend half their income, how can you say that withdrawing, cutting the budget 14% is going to make this a better situation when the government when vouchers and housing assistance is only about one fourth of those family. >> it probably would have been even more than 14% if i had made multiple trips to talk to people. we have to recognize that we are in a difficult situation. i would love to work with you,
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i've already been working with some of the housing advocates who are trying to find solutions. >> a difficult situation meaning the budget deficit, is that what you mean. >> can you speak up about this? >> i constantly speak up about this. >> did you ask any members of the house or senate to vote no on the blowhole in the tax bill. >> not on this bill, i haven't talked to them. >> that's the most recent one that blew a hole in the federal budget and now we have to make up for it. >> i hope you will join me in talking to everybody you can about it because we are talking about the future of our country, our children and our grandchildren. >> as we were last fall we gave huge cuts to people like you and the cabinet members - adding get a tax cut. >> you will. >> no. i won't. my taxes are going up. >> we will see many in the president's cabinet.
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one presented really, really well under this tax bill. you know that. we have a hole in the budget and speaker ryan says we have to go after medicare and medicaid. why is it that those who are struggling, we take it out on them and put the burden on their back this is part of that mr. secretary. >> is a problem that more companies are returning to our shores from overseas? is the problem people are getting bonuses. >> i can answer -- back is a problem that. >> mr. secretary, i can inactivate you back to you. >> those are and adults. >> so as an engineer that said his company will move dozens of engineers because of the
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tax bill. >> we don't need to fight about it. >> but if you talk about the budget deficit, build your budget on that in your reason for cutting spending on a lot of low income people. don't blame it on the federal budget when the federal budget got worse because of what your president, our president and your cabinet was advocating in this congress. >> we will leave the debate over the tax bill at that. >> thank you mr. secretary. >> senator kennedy has asked him for the last word i asked him to keep it brief. >> look, senator brown you make some good points but i want too, i want to thank you for trying to help americans know the dignity of being self-sufficient. i don't think the american people get enough credit mr. secretary. we spent about a trillion
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dollars a year, state and local, social programs and in our country if you're hungry we feed you. if you're homeless we house you. if you're too poor to be sick we pay for your doctor. a lot of other countries just let you die. but the problem is that so many of our programs to help people have become parking lots when they are supposed to be bridges. it seems to me that we've become a government that automatically sees folks as victims which can breed dependency as opposed to potential workers. i think you four and i strongly encourage you to continue the effort so if somebody needs of place to live we should provide it but
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if there between the ages of 18 and 65 and they're not just disabled, then we need to ask them to work 20 hours a week or go back to school 20 hours a week or do community service 20 hours a week. i'm not talking about a mother with a sick baby in her arms. i'm not talking about asking grandpa to leave the nursing home, and you've done a lot for that and i know a lot of people say it makes you cold and heartless, they say that about the american people. we spent a trillion dollars and i don't know, i try to be a good advocate, i believe in free will. i don't think these are people who need a hand up or want to stay there. you worked at that. i know some people have bashed you and i just wanted to thank you for it. >> thank you. i appreciate that.
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in the sermon on the mount they said don't worry about it when people say all kind of horrible things about you, just do the right thing and that's what's driving us right now. i've been blessed with a tremendous team, wonderful people and we are going to get people out of poverty and it will change the paradigm in this country. >> to sum it up, i don't want to take food stamps were affordable housing away from people in need. but i do want your people to need food stamps and affordable housing. and i don't know is in the person, maybe there are some, but i know a number, i don't know if in the person who is dependent on government who really wants to be.
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i'm not talking about just okay, go get a job, there are programs that have been set up, kentucky has a great one where we will help you get a job. this economy, thanks to those tax cuts is doing great. anyway, i'm still doing five minutes better than the senator paradigm and wrap it up. >> thank you, senator but i just want to say, we the government, maybe not the current government, but collectively, we are the ones who created the situation of dependency and i think we have a responsibility to fix it. >> thank you. >> with that, the hearing will conclude. that concludes the questioning and i want to once again thank sector carson for coming in reporting to us and being here. questions are due marc march 29.
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>> with that, this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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tonight on c-span2, supreme court oral argument in the case involving abortion services and free-speech. : : >> the case focuses on a california law that requires crisis pregnancy centers to tell clients that abortions are an available option. this is an hour. >> we'll hear argument this morning in case number


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