by Ron Gregory
Washington, D.C. – West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators voted with the majority today in confirming Dr. Ben Carson as the new secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Joe Manchin joined 56 other senators in forging the 58-41 vote for Carson. Many of the appointees of new President Donald Trump have faced closer confirmation votes, with one being confirmed on a rare 51-50 vote. In cases where the body is tied, Vice President Pence breaks the stalemate. Votes along party lines, 52-48 Republican, have been common.
Capito commented on her vote for confirm Carson, “I’m confident that Dr. Carson will listen to the needs of rural America as he executes the mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including making housing affordable and accessible to all West Virginians.”
Manchin said, “Today I voted to confirm Ben Carson as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary. As a former Governor, I understand how crucial it is for an executive leader to have his team in place. I applaud Secretary Carson for his willingness to serve our country. I believe he understands that the housing and development needs facing West Virginia are different than those facing America’s urban communities and I look forward to working with him to improve the lives of West Virginians.”
Unlike some of Trump’s other nominees, Carson faced little opposition despite the fact that he has no experience running a federal bureau. The committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs unanimously recommended his confirmation. Some committee Democrats questioned Carson about his stated belief that government assistance programs can lead to dependency. Carson, who earlier was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination against Trump and others, had voiced those concerns on the campaign trail.
Carson told legislators that he mother occasionally received food stamps to provide for her family and said he grew up in neighborhoods where housing assistance programs are prevalent.
As HUD secretary, Carson will over see a $47 billion agency that is charged with assisting low-income renters, helping struggling home owners and fighting urban blight.
Carson clings to traditional Republican values, such as the belief that accepting government assistance weakens a desire to work hard. He was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center at age 33 after graduating from Yale University.