- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:



President Obama wants to “diversify” wealthy neighborhoods in America, and his administration plans to to force affluent communities to accept affordable housing, such as Section 8.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is set to release new regulations that would set aside taxpayer money to build cheap housing for poor people in richer areas. Under the rules, the federal government would be able to overrule zoning laws of more than 1,200 local governments and force communities to comply.

But on Wednesday, the House move to preemptively limit the power of HUD, now headed up by Julian Castro, a top candidate to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate should she win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

The House voted 229-193 for a measure that prevents HUD from implementing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. 

The measure was put forward by Arizona Republican Rep. Paul A. Gosar, who has been a vocal foe of the new regulations.

“As the president reaches the end of his second term, he has made it clear that his top priorities during his waning days are furthering his far-left political agenda by forcing big government programs on the American people.  His new AFFH regulation is one of the most far-reaching attempts yet to punish communities that don’t submit to the president’s liberal ideology. American citizens and communities should be free to choose where they would like to live and not be subject to federal neighborhood engineering at the behest of an overreaching federal government,” Gosar said in a statement.

“Furthermore, HUD officials shouldn’t be holding hostage grant monies aimed at community improvement based on its unrealistic utopian ideas of what every community should resemble. Local zoning decisions have traditionally been, and should always be, made by local communities, not bureaucrats in Washington DC. I am extremely pleased to see the House put a stop to this attempt by the Obama Administration to control a fundamental aspect of the American dream.”

HUD claims the new rules would simple provide equal opportunity, breaking down barriers that have long been in place. “This rule is not about forcing anyone to live anywhere they don’t want to,” Margery Turner, senior vice president at the left-leaning Urban Institute, told The Hill. “It’s really about addressing long-standing practices that prevent people from living where they want to.”

Stanley Kurtz writes in National Review that the regulation “would be one of the most radical and transformative actions ever taken by the Obama administration.”

“In the early stages, the AFFH rule will mandate the collection of information on the precise racial, ethnic, and income distribution of housing in nearly every census tract in the nation. Once that information has been gathered, escalating pressure will be placed on municipalities across the country to abandon local zoning policies and re-engineer housing stock at local expense. Municipalities will be pressured to join regional consortia that will have the effect of taking housing decisions out of the hands of elected officials and the citizens they represent. And the federal government will pressure localities to build dense housing developments near transportation hubs and business areas,” Kurtz writes.

The measure now goes to the Senate, also controlled by Republicans.The Supreme Court is also set to rule on a separate matter of housing discrimination that revolves around whether local governments are guilty of segregation through their policies.

 

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