President Barack Obama’s radical regulation that would seize control of local zoning prerogatives from approximately 1,200 cities and counties which receive community development block grants came under legislative fire yesterday from two of its leading opponents in Congress, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Legislation introduced today by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) would fully rescind the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” regulation that conditions receipt of community block grants on rezoning those municipalities along federal income and racial guidelines.
Robert Romano, Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government, a limited government organization dedicated to protecting individual liberty and the constitutional rule of law, wholeheartedly endorsed the Gosar legislation to fully rescind the rule, calling the regulation “a vast overreach by the federal government, imposing its will on local communities, dictating what must be built where in order to advance a radical, utopian vision of where people should live.”
Counties like Westchester, N.Y., have chafed under the regulatory burdens imposed by the federal government under the zoning regulation as the Washington bureaucrats continually expanded their demands on what constituted compliance with the law. Incredibly, this even included regulating how local officials could speak to the public about the regulation.
In fact, Stanley Kurtz with the National Review reported in 2016 that, “The new federal effort to muzzle Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino’s attacks on the Obama administration’s housing policy is very arguably designed to silence public opposition to AFFH, and to remove a potential political time-bomb from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
Americans for Limited Government’s Romano argues that beyond the abrogation of free speech of local officials under the application of the policy in the New York County, the HUD regulation itself is fatally flawed because it, “ignores the reality of the nation’s housing market, where individuals based on employment, family and other concerns determine for themselves where they would like to live, and the rule obscures the fact that real housing discrimination is already prohibited on an individual basis. Finally, the rule is not only unnecessary and overreaches in every regard, the federal government has no constitutional role in local zoning issues, which rightly belongs to the states, counties and cities.”
The Gosar legislation joins an effort by Senator Mike Lee to defund implementation of the law in the upcoming federal government funding bill, but Romano argues that defunding may not be enough.
“President-elect Donald Trump can and should start the process of rescinding this rule via the Administrative Procedures Act, but to stop it for good, Congress must prohibit this rule and anything substantially similar by asserting its Article I prerogatives and passing legislation overturning it.The Gosar bill meets that threshold and we hope that the administration including incoming Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will embrace a legislative approach in addition to taking executive action to rein in this vast federal overreach.”