Joe Biden taps Marcia Fudge, Ohio congresswoman, as HUD secretary

Agency will play a key role in new administration’s pandemic response

Marcia Fudge (Getty)
Marcia Fudge (Getty)

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to oversee the nation’s massive housing agency.

As secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fudge would oversee an agency that creates housing policies for more than 9 million low-income Americans. It will play a critical role in the new administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left millions of Americans without the means to pay rent, Politico reported.

HUD’s most recent annual budget was $47.9 billion.

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Fudge is the second African American selected by Biden this week for his cabinet. Her appointment, if confirmed by the Senate, would trigger a special election in her district, the New York Times noted.

The Democrat has represented Ohio’s 11th congressional district since winning a special election in 2008 and won re-election this year with 80 percent of the vote. She serves on the House committees on agriculture, House administration, and education and labor.

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Fudge and her political allies had pushed Biden to name her as the first Black female head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She told Politico last month that Black policymakers had held only a few cabinet positions, HUD secretary being one of them.

“As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in,” she told the publication. “You know, it’s always ‘we want to put the Black person in Labor or HUD.’”

Other candidates — including former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and California Rep. Karen Bass — had emerged last month as potential picks for Biden’s housing secretary.

One of the most notable housing actions President Trump has taken is his to roll back a provision of the Fair Housing Act called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. The Obama-era rule required that local governments demonstrate how federal funds have been used to reduce housing segregation. The reversal, by outgoing HUD Secretary Ben Carson, allows localities to self-certify that they are doing so.

HUD had said the original rule was “overly burdensome and costly.” It is expected that the new secretary will reinstate it.

[Politico, NYT] — Danielle Balbi