Senate panel advances Fudge, Rouse for roles leading HUD, CEA

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The Senate Banking Committee approved the nomination of Marcia Fudge to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development on a 17-7 vote Thursday.

The vote advances Fudge’s nomination to the full Senate. The committee also unanimously approved Cecilia Rouse, an economist at Princeton University, to be the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Appearing before the committee last week, Fudge called on Congress to dramatically increase funding for housing programs, alarming Republicans who fear an “activist HUD.”

“We need to expand resources for HUD’s programs to people who are eligible,” Fudge told the committee last Thursday. “Today, according to a 2017 study, only 1 out of 5 eligible households receive housing assistance.”

The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus was repeatedly asked about past remarks disparaging Republicans during the hearing. She insisted she has a bipartisan record — a claim Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) quibbled with Thursday as he said he opposed her nomination, recalling her statement last year that she didn’t believe Republicans care “even a little bit” about people of color.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said he supported Fudge’s nomination despite “objectionable” statements about Republicans’ views of minorities in the past.

“I find her to be a person who is quite intelligent and tenacious,” Scott said. “I spoke with her last night. We agree to disagree on a number of issues and certainly we will.”

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