WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee announced his plans to offer an amendment that would block funding for a regulation that allows the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to dictate local zoning requirements in any community across the country.
“Even for our highly centralized federal government, this rule represents an extreme step in consolidating government decisions over distinctly local matters within the hands of distant, unaccountable bureaucrats,” said Lee. “Local authorities are far more attuned to the unique conditions and needs of their communities, and they have a personal stake in their success. In every state across the country, there is no doubt that a mayor and city council officials will be more personally invested and more effective in improving the lives of the people in their community than a federal official located in Washington, D.C.”
Senator Lee plans to offer his amendment to the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act should it be brought to the floor this week.
If funded, the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule would empower federal officials to assert the authority to force any community that receives a Community Development Block Grant to comply with zoning plans written in Washington. This rule effectively allows HUD to carve up the country, block by block, according to its own priorities and preferences.
Community Development Block Grants are allocations of federal tax dollars, issued to local governments by HUD, to address a variety of community development needs. One of the primary uses of these resources is to provide affordable public housing for individuals and families in need. Sadly, the inevitable consequence of federal management over how local officials spend this money will only make it harder for communities to provide adequate low-cost housing for their neighbors in need.
To protect the ability of local officials to serve low-income communities, Senator Lee’s amendment would prevent this egregious power grab by the federal government and would keep housing decisions closest to the people who are affected by them.
Rep. Paul Gosar is the original sponsor of a similar amendment in the House, which was successfully added to H.R. 4745, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015.