January 12, 2017

Crapo Statement at Nomination Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following opening statement during a full committee hearing on the nomination of Secretary-Designate Dr. Benjamin Carson, of Michigan, to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  

The text of Chairman Crapo’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  

“First this morning, I would like to welcome the new members to the Senate Banking Committee: Senator David Perdue, Senator Thom Tillis, Senator John Kennedy, Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, and Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“I look forward to working with these new members, along with my other colleagues returning to the Committee, including the Ranking Member, Senator Brown.

“This committee has a long and distinguished history of tackling important and complicated issues.

“This Congress, we will continue this tradition, and my hope is that we do so in a strong, bipartisan manner.

“This morning we will hear testimony on the nomination for the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“We will begin today's hearing with an opening statement by me and the Ranking Member.

“I will then turn to Senator Rubio, who will introduce Secretary-Designate Dr. Benjamin Carson.

“We will then follow the “early-bird rule.”  Members will be recognized by the Chair in order of seniority for those present at the gavel and in order of arrival thereafter. Each member will be allotted 5 minutes for as many rounds as time permits.

“Dr. Benjamin Carson was raised by a single mother in an impoverished part of the city of Detroit. 

“He attended Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School, and later became a highly accomplished and respected neurosurgeon.

“Dr. Carson was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984 at the age of 33, the youngest such director in the nation. 

“He gained national fame in the 1980s by becoming the first doctor to lead an operation that separated twins conjoined at the head, one of many high profile operations led by Dr. Carson.

“In addition to his successful career as a surgeon, Dr. Carson is also a decorated author and speaker who has written numerous best-selling books on a range of topics.

“He also ran for President this past election, and spent months traveling the country listening to the American people about the problems and issues that they faced, including with respect to housing.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Carson has achieved a great deal of success.  He has demonstrated a fervent intensity for improving the lives of his fellow Americans, and his intellect, leadership, and life experiences are unique, valuable assets for leading an agency like HUD. 

“Dr. Carson has said he plans to continue his conversation with the American people and do a listening tour if confirmed.  This is an encouraging sign that Dr. Carson wants to hear from stakeholders and, more importantly, from the American people.

“If confirmed, I hope to work with Dr. Carson on how to reimagine housing policy at HUD. 

“I look forward to working on streamlining requirements for local Public Housing Authorities, especially for smaller housing authorities.

“One example is the Small Public Housing Authority Opportunities Act, which seeks to encourage innovative approaches to determining tenant rents and to adjust the level of federal oversight over small housing authorities. 

“We should also look at the Section 8, Moving to Work, Rental Assistance Demonstration, and public housing programs, where there has been interest in reforms for many years. 

“I hope to work with Dr. Carson, if confirmed, on improvements to the programs that would produce cost savings, reduce burdens on local housing authorities, and encourage self-sufficiency.     

“Another issue this Committee has worked on is strengthening HECM. I look forward to working with you on this program.

“While the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is under the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction, it is very important to the U.S. housing market.  It provides essential capital to underserved communities and provides key financing for small and rural affordable housing developments.

“Tackling homelessness, especially among our nation’s veterans, is another issue that is important to me and other members of this Committee.  It is critical that HUD allow local communities to craft solutions that work best for their needs.

“I hope to work with Dr. Carson and with other members of this Committee on these issues and many others.”