May 19, 2016

Shelby Remarks on the Senate Floor Regarding the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

WASHINGTON D.C. – Thursday, May 19, 2016 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today spoke on the Collins-Reed amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.

The text of Senator Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.

“Mr. President, I rise to support the Collins amendment, but not as an alternative to the Lee amendment. 

“Senators should be aware that the Collins-Reed amendment provides no protections to local communities on their local planning rules because it merely prohibits an activity that the rule does not contemplate. 

“Even the sponsor of this amendment acknowledged earlier today that the amendment prohibited an activity that she believed would not occur.

“Make no mistake, the so-called ‘Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing’ rule will likely heavily influence local zoning decisions.  However, it does so indirectly, not through ‘direct’ action as specified in the Collins-Reed amendment.

“HUD advertises this fact on its own website where it details how communities will have to submit for approval an ‘Assessment of Fair Housing’ and that these communities will ‘use the fair housing goals and priorities established in their [assessment] to inform the investments and other decisions made in their local planning processes.’

“In other words, HUD does not intend to ‘direct’ any specific zoning requirements.  It does, however, intend to significantly influence local zoning decisions by withholding approval of local plans until they meet HUD’s central planning goals.

“I do agree with the amendment’s cosponsors that HUD has no business taking any direct action prohibited by the Collins-Reed amendment, so I ask my fellow Senators to support this amendment.

“However, this amendment is not sufficient on its own. The only way to prevent HUD from intruding into local community planning, exactly as they openly state they intend to do, is to support Senator Lee’s amendment as well.

“The Collins-Reed amendment is not an alternative to Senator Lee’s amendment.  It is - at best - complementary to the Lee amendment.  Therefore, supporting both amendments is the only course of action to truly protect local community planning from unnecessary federal interference.” 

Watch Chairman Shelby’s remarks here.