|The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed by voice vote several of President Trump’s nominees for key housing and tax policy positions, including: Neal Rackleff, to be HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development; Anna Farias, to be HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity; and David Kautter, to serve as Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Tax Policy. The three nominees were passed as part of a broader package of 65 nominees spanning a variety of federal agencies.
Rackleff, an attorney working in private practice, has previously headed the City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department, where he administered HOME, CDBG, and other programs that HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) oversees. During a Banking Committee hearing held several weeks ago to consider his and other HUD nominations, Rackleff faced questioning from Committee Democrats about the Trump Administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2018 Budget, which proposes to eliminate HOME and CDBG and cut other CPD programs. Rackleff responded that he supports the Administration’s Budget and that he was confident HUD would be able to fulfil its mission with whatever resources it receives through the appropriations process. The Committee later approved his nomination by voice vote.
Farias, who currently chairs the Board of Regents at Texas Women’s University, held a variety of positions at HUD during President George W. Bush’s Administration. During her confirmation hearing, Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked Farias if she supported the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and would commit to implementing it. Farias stated that while she will "review the concerns" about the "new rule," she will work to implement AFFH. As with Rackleff, the Banking Committee latter approved Farias’ nomination by voice vote.
Kautter will be one of the key officials working on tax policy on behalf of the Administration, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. He is expected to play a key role in efforts to develop tax reform legislation. Kautter recently expressed support for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), telling Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) during the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on his nomination that, while the Housing Credit is not an issue he has spent a lot of time working on during his career, from what he has seen, it works well. He also expressed a willingness to work with Cantwell to make the Housing Credit more effective. The Finance Committee approved his nomination unanimously.
The Senate recessed until September 5 without considering two HUD nominees who had previously been reported out by the Banking Committee: Pamela Patenaude to serve as Deputy HUD Secretary and Paul Compton to serve as HUD General Counsel.