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Carson Confirmed As HUD Secretary

HUD Secretary Ben Carson

Ben Carson was confirmed as HUD Secretary by a 58-41 vote Thursday morning.

The vote largely fell along party lines, with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) abstaining. There were a handful of Democratic senators — namely Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) — who crossed the aisle to support Carson's nomination. 

The retired neurosurgeon was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs at the end of January in a 27-0 vote. Carson’s confirmation makes him the sole African-American member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. 

Carson will oversee more than 8,000 employees with a budget of about $47B. During his confirmation hearing, Carson offered a broad vision of what HUD could do — saying HUD will be "incredibly different" under his supervision — but gave few specifics on how it could be done. Carson has proposed a "listening tour" around the country to hear the stories and concerns of those involved with HUD to better understand how to move forward. 

Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, a member of the Senate Committee of Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs, said the national debt may mean Carson has to rely more on public/private partnerships to address housing needs in the country, particularly those projects that mix incomes.

“Right now, with nearly $20 trillion in debt, our country cannot afford everything it is doing. Washington has got to start learning to do more with less, and public-private partnerships could play a key role if we want to dig out of this hole we're in,” Perdue said via email to Bisnow.

Perdue is optimistic about Carson's ability to helm HUD. “Dr. Carson's heart for humanity is very impressive, and he will bring that commitment to this new responsibility to meet our nation's diverse housing and development needs,” he said.

This is a developing story.