Senate gives Carson the nod as housing secretary

2017-03-03 05:47
(Zach Gibson, AP)

(Zach Gibson, AP)

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Washington - Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who challenged Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination, won Senate confirmation on Thursday to join Trump's Cabinet as housing secretary.

Six Democrats and one independent joined 51 Republicans in voting for Carson to lead the department of housing and urban development.

Carson has never held public office and has no housing policy experience. But Republicans have praised the life story of a man who grew up in inner-city Detroit with a single mother who had a third-grade education.

When his nomination cleared the Senate banking, housing and urban affairs committee in January, Democrats said Carson would not have been their choice, but they welcomed his promises to address lead hazards in housing, homelessness and other issues. He was approved unanimously in the committee.

Carson, 65, will lead an agency with about 8 300 employees and a budget of about $47bn. The department provides billions of dollars in housing assistance to low-income people through vouchers and public housing. It also enforces fair housing laws and offers mortgage insurance to poorer Americans through the Federal Housing Administration, part of HUD.

Holistic approach

Trump lauded his nominee last week, calling him a "totally brilliant neurosurgeon" who has saved many lives.

"We're going to do great things in our African-American communities," Trump said, appearing with Carson on a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

"Ben is going to work with me very, very closely. And HUD has a meaning far beyond housing. If properly done, it's a meaning that's as big as anything there is and Ben will be able to find that true meaning and the true meaning of HUD as its Secretary," Trump said.

Carson has not shared specific plans publicly for the department under his leadership.

At his confirmation hearing, he told lawmakers that he envisioned forging a more "holistic approach" to helping people and developing "the whole person." He didn't offer many details.

Read more on:    ben carson  |  donald trump  |  us

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