The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs voted 17-7 in favor of Marcia Fudge's nomination as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The committee held Fudge's confirmation hearing last week, on January 28, 2021.
Committee Chair Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said Fudge will help lead the department to "a brighter future." From his new elevated post, he used the hearing as an opportunity to say the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has too long been almost solely about banking and too little about housing. "The days of this committee doing the bidding of Wall Street are over," he said.
Opponents of Fudge's confirmation included Pat Toomey (R-PA) who said she was one of the least bipartisan members of congress and that she has too little experience in housing policy.
She assured the committee last week that she is willing to work across the aisle.
The Biden Transition said in a press release, "A former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Fudge is a longtime champion of affordable housing, urban revitalization, infrastructure investment, and other reforms to enhance the safety, prosperity, and sustainability of American communities."
Fudge, at her nomination hearing, said, "We need to make the dream of homeownership and the security and wealth creation that comes with it a reality for more Americans. That will require us to end discriminatory practices in the housing market."
Following Fudge's hearing last week housing advocates called on the Senate to swiftly confirm. Industry insiders generally seem optimistic about Fudge's ability and determination to make changes that will benefit segments of the population struggling with housing.
"After [the] nomination hearing, it is clear that she is the ideal candidate to serve as HUD Secretary at this moment in history, Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) said. "With over four million instances of housing discrimination each year and increases in housing-related hate crimes over the past several years, we are eager to work with the Biden-Harris Administration and Secretary-designate Fudge to make fair housing a reality for everyone and advance racial equity."
For the Up for Growth foundation, Mike Kingsella noted following the hearing that Fudge is "the person who will have the most impact on President Biden’s housing plan."
Up for Growth applauded Fudge's denunciation, during her hearing, of NIMBY-ism (she said, "We have to get rid of this notion of Not in My Backyard").
Senator Brian Schatz, the Senate Democratic lead on the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act, during his questioning, drew a clear line from the redlining practices of the early 20th Century to the widespread use of exclusionary zoning laws today. Fudge said educating Americans on the negative impact of exclusionary zoning could be a role for HUD.
Writes Kingsella: "We view Congresswoman Fudge’s selection as an indication the Biden Administration would use HUD as a vehicle to achieve racial equity and promote economic security and opportunity."
Some housing experts hope that HUD, under Fudge's leadership, has the potential to accomplish unprecedented change, making housing a right rather than a privilege, according to Bloomberg's CityLab.
"Her first two policy priorities will be undoing rules set during the Trump administration that rolled back fair housing discrimination," Malcom Glenn, a fellow in the Future of Land and Housing program at New America told CityLab. "But simply reinstating these protections are the floor of what is possible."
Brown said he will ask Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to bring Fudge’s nomination to the entire Senate as soon as possible, but said it could be delayed by the upcoming trial to impeach former President Donald Trump.
“I don’t know if impeachment stops us from doing other things,” said Brown. “It’s something we don’t have a lot of historical precedent for.”