June 17, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement in favor of an amendment to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) plans to offer defunding implementation of the "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" rule, which in October will empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to achieve racial and income integration:
"We call on every member of the Senate to support Sen. Mike Lee's amendment to defund HUD's regime to rezone any municipality that accepts any part of the $3.5 billion a year in community development block grants from the federal government. The Obama administration is engaged in a utopian plan to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income. It is social engineering at its worst, and a back-door attempt to gerrymander districts.
"It is also unconstitutional. Under principles of federalism, zoning is left up to states, counties and municipalities to determine for themselves. HUD has no place in drawing up neighborhoods based on racial preferences, particularly at a time when the Supreme Court has rejected racial quotas as unconstitutional. This will never withstand judicial scrutiny. Besides, the HUD rule will do nothing to stop real housing discrimination based on race that has been illegal since the 1960s.
"This attempt to nationalize our most basic living decisions must be stopped, and we thank Sen. Lee for championing this issue. Americans for Limited Government strongly supports the Lee amendment to defund racial quotas in local zoning decisions."
Proposed draft amendment to H.R. 4660, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), June 17, 2014 at http://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LeeAmendmentHUDTransportationApprops-6-17-14.pdf
"Senate must defund HUD racial housing quotas," By Americans for Limited Government senior editor Robert Romano, June 16, 2014 at http://netrightdaily.com/2014/06/senate-must-defund-hud-racial-housing-quotas/
"House defunds HUD racial housing quotas," Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens, Statement, June 10, 2014 at http://getliberty.org/house-defunds-hud-racial-housing-quotas/
Lee press release text, June 17, 2014:
Lee to offer amendment to keep housing decisions in local hands
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 mayors and councilmen 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.
Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.