Senators Mike Lee and Richard Shelby are models of courage in the Senate on AFFH defund

May 19, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) after an amendment proposed to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill to prohibit implementation of the HUD regulation “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) that conditions $3 billion of yearly community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties rezoning neighborhoods along income and racial guidelines was tabled by a vote of 60 to 37:

“Americans wonder what is going wrong with the system in Washington, D.C. where Senators seem more interested in playing paddy cake with President Obama and his radical agenda rather than standing up and fighting it. Senator Mike Lee breaks this stereotype and his offering of language to defund President Obama’s HUD regulation that allows federal bureaucrats to coerce local governments to conform to Obama’s racial and income gerrymandering zoning requirements.

“Unfortunately, too many of his Republican colleagues were more afraid of the race hustlers who seek to put low income high rise apartments into middle class neighborhoods, and the Lee amendment failed. Here is the truth. Local zoning only determines what can be built where, not who can live there. The Fair Housing Act ensures that race plays zero role in who can buy a home or rent an apartment, but for census map driven bureaucrats to declare single family homes on quarter acre lots racist as they have tried to do in Westchester County, N.Y. is absurd.

“Senator Lee and Senator Shelby’s willingness to stand up for local control over our nation’s zoning laws demonstrates once again that they are some of the few who match what they say back home with what they do in Washington, D.C.

“The good news is that the House has passed the exact same language as offered by Lee the past two years with support ranging across the Conference’s ideological divide, so there is still a chance for stopping Obama’s HUD madness. In the meantime, every citizen should find out if their city or county are one of the 1,200 local governments which take community development block grants.

“One possible pinpoint of light is the Senate including language that restates current law prohibiting the federal government from directly setting zoning policy for municipalities, this time via AFFH. While little more than a political fig leaf amendment, it is Americans for Limited Government’s hope that this limiting language will provide municipalities and counties a small, legal foothold to resist HUD coercion to condition the community development block grants on submission of HUD-approved local zoning plans. The fact that so many Democrats voted for this amendment proves that the politics of a centrally planned zoning policy by HUD are abysmal. They better hope that the Senate-passed language actually bars HUD from using the community development block grants to set local zoning policy, otherwise the 2018 Senate midterms could prove brutal for those who offered false hope that this vast overreach was being reined in.

“Now it is up to the House of Representatives to stand firm and support the Gosar-Lee language to further strengthen the prohibitions on Obama’s HUD racial and income zoning quotas as they have done twice before.”

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