09.24.2014 1

While Congress campaigns, HUD takeover of neighborhoods imminent

HUD2By Robert Romano

A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule set to go in effect in October will force neighborhoods to build low-income housing — whether they like it or not.

And nobody is doing a thing in Washington, D.C. to stop it.

The rule will condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income.

Yet, this has nothing to do with housing discrimination, which has been illegal since the 1960s. Local rules only determine what can be built where, not who can live in a community, and yet the government believes neighborhoods are “discriminatory” if they have nice homes to live in.

In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities, meaning it is likely that federal rule over your neighborhood’s zoning could be just a week away.

The House of Representatives acted on June 10, passing an amendment to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) in a 219 to 207 vote that would have defunded implementation of the regulation. In the Senate, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) proposed the same amendment.

There’s only one problem. There was no further action on the HUD appropriations bill. It got trumped by the continuing resolution funding the government into December that Congress just passed in its rush to get out of town to go campaign.

In the process, Congress ultimately wound up funding the very HUD racial zoning quotas the House had voted to defund in June.

The next time to revisit the issue will be in December, when the continuing resolution comes up again, but by then, HUD will already be two months into implementing the regulation.

The lack of urgency, particularly by House Republicans, is somewhat inexplicable.

This has little to do with integrating communities on the basis of race or income per se. Instead, it is a pretext to tilt the political scales on the national and local political scenes for the next generation to favor Democrats.

Republicans with their low tax message tend to do better among those with higher incomes, while Democrats with their social welfare regime tend to do better among the poor.

The solution for Democrats? Via regulation, force communities dependent on federal funding to build more low-income homes and apartments where Democrats are likely to live.

It is gerrymandering, plain and simple.

So, why would Republicans allow their own districts to be redrawn by faceless bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.?

Your guess is as good as mine, yet, in voting to fund the government through December and thus the HUD rule, House Republicans apparently have voted to sow the seeds of their own political destruction.

Perhaps the 2014 election campaign is really a farewell tour.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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