U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson announced the termination of Obama’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which took away decision-making from local communities:
“Secretary Carson and President Trump have rightfully recognized the importance of rolling back Obama’s AFFH rule, which sought to extort localities for utopian demographic design. For years I have fought this effort by Democrats to socially engineer local neighborhoods for political power,” said Congressman Gosar. “I fully support this new rule by the Trump administration that empowers local communities.”
“In nearly every case, it is a fact that local governments are more adequately equipped to deal with their community’s unique needs than any unelected bureaucrat in Washington. President Trump made a promise to preserve America’s neighborhoods, I am pleased to report that promise has been kept,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
“Once again, Congress’ most effective conservative leads a fight where others feared to tread and won the battle. In this case preserving our local community’s control over their zoning decisions in a rebuke to the Obama/Biden federal bureaucrat power grab” said Rick Manning, President, Americans for Limited Government.
Congressman Gosar has led the fight against the socialist AFFH rule since the beginning. In 2015, Gosar introduced and passed an amendment blocking the AFFH rule in appropriations bills. In 2015 and 2017, Gosar introduced the Local Zoning and Property Rights Protection Act to again end the AFFH regulation. In 2016, Gosar fought the AFFH rule in the annual appropriations packages again, introducing language to terminate the regulation. In 2017, Rep. Gosar and Sen. Lee led a letter with twelve Senate and six House colleagues asking HUD Secretary Carson to rescind the AFFH rule. The letter read, in part:
“We stand with you in opposing any and all instances of discrimination, but this rule does not actually help in that effort. Instead, it would extend reach of the federal government beyond its authority and could take away state and local governments’ ability to make local zoning decisions.”
The letter continued, “Moving forward, we respectfully ask that you use your authority to rescind the AFFH rule in its entirety. It is critical that we pursue real, sensible reforms to reduce poverty and improve the opportunities available to lower-income citizens at the local level. We look forward to partnering with you to ensure justice and opportunity are preserved in every neighborhood across our great land.”
Yesterday HUD announced they would terminate the Obama-Era regulation. The new rule eliminates the excessive burden put on local neighborhoods and gets rid of the top-down approach that dictated zoning for communities. The new rule will help promote housing that is affordable, decent, safe, and free from discrimination.
Background on AFFH
Since its inception in 1968, the Fair Housing Act has required that agencies administering housing-related grants do so in a way that affirmatively furthers the aims of the Fair Housing Act. Recipients of HUD funding must similarly certify that they “affirmatively further fair housing” as part of the grant application process. Yet this phrase is not defined in statute and has been subject to varying interpretations.
Obama’s 2015 AFFH rule only served to hurt America’s vulnerable neighborhoods by forcing Federal funds to more affluent areas across the country in the name of desegregation and attempted to turn HUD into a “National Zoning Board”.
HUD is now terminating Obama’s 2015 AFFH rule. The new rule defines fair housing broadly to mean housing that, among other attributes, is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws. It then defines “affirmatively furthering fair housing” to mean any action rationally related to promoting any of the attributes of fair housing.