On July 16, 2015, President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development issued an innocuous-sounding new regulation that it said would “promote fair housing choice and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.”

This “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule supposedly would only assist local communities by providing them with more data needed to comply with the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

What the regulation really did, however, was empower unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. with the tools to act as a national zoning board.

Under the new housing rule, HUD would review fair housing plans created by state and local governments using data created and stored by the federal government. HUD could then withhold federal grant money from state and local governments if it thought the plans were deficient.

This new process would give HUD the power to control zoning laws in virtually every community in the country. The federal government could selectively starve local governments of resources if it doesn’t like where they are approving new apartment complexes.

In a July 2015 article in the Washington Times, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said that the department’s attempts to “legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse.” I couldn’t agree more.

That is why Representative Gosar and I sent a letter signed by several colleagues to Secretary Carson this Friday asking him to fully rescind the July 2015 AFFH rule.

“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,” the letter reads.