Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the incoming ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, today in a committee vote will oppose the nomination of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and will support Cecilia Rouse’s nomination to be Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
Senator Toomey’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.
“Mr. Chairman, congratulations on officially becoming Chairman of the Banking Committee. Through the years, we’ve had a constructive relationship working on multiple issues, including protecting our national security, combatting the opioid crisis, and, most recently, reducing maternal mortality. I look forward to continuing to work with you in your new role.
“Today we’ll be voting on two nominees: Dean Cecilia Rouse for CEA Chair and Representative Marcia Fudge for HUD Secretary.
“I’ll be supporting Dean Rouse’s nomination. She’s well-qualified to serve as CEA Chair based on her service as a CEA member in the Obama administration, and her distinguished career as an economist at Princeton.
“I have no doubt that I’m going to disagree with Dean Rouse on policy matters far more often than I agree with her, but I appreciate that she has a history of listening to and respectfully working with people of differing viewpoints. I believe her record is consistent with President Biden’s calls for unity and pledges to keep personal attacks out of political discourse.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Representative Fudge’s record. That’s one reason I will not be supporting her nomination.
“I’m troubled by multiple statements Representative Fudge has made through the years attacking and disparaging the integrity and motives of Republican officials with whom she has policy disagreements. At her hearing, I asked her about some of these statements, including her statement that she didn’t think Republicans ‘care even a little bit about people of color.’
“In her defense, she stated: ‘I am one of the most bipartisan members in the House of Representatives, and I think that if you would check my record would reflect that.’
“We checked her record. It doesn’t reflect that. In the 115th Congress she was ranked as one of the least bipartisan House members in a Georgetown study. She ranked 408 out of 436 House members—the bottom seven percent.
“I’m also concerned by Representative Fudge’s lack of experience in housing policy. During 12 years in the House, she’s never served on the House committee of jurisdiction over housing policy—the House Financial Services Committee—and only a small percentage of the bills she’s sponsored or cosponsored were regarding housing and community development. Nor does she have a wealth of housing policy experience from her local government service in Ohio before Congress.
“I acknowledge that not all cabinet nominees are experts in the policy areas that their agencies cover. But when they’re not, it makes their policy views all the more important. Representative Fudge’s views, as reflected in her responses to questions for the record, are concerning.
“When asked whether HUD should better target its programs so they’re helping low-income Americans, she responded, ‘The challenge for HUD programs isn’t that they aren’t targeted, it is that funding levels are inadequate to meet the need.’
“But that ignores the fact that HUD programs certainly can be better targeted to help those in need. For instance, currently, families with disqualifying, high incomes participate in HUD-assisted rental programs, making them unavailable to lower income families. And FHA insures mortgages for homebuyers who could access mortgage credit through private capital.
“She also would not acknowledge that a taxpayer funded bailout for FHA would be a failure.
“I’m concerned Representative Fudge’s approach will be to simply ask Congress for more money for HUD without working to reform it. Such reform is needed to ensure HUD programs are improved so they better serve low-income Americans in need.
“For all of these reasons, I will not be supporting Representative Fudge’s nomination.”