Department of Housing and Urban Discrimination

Yesterday, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson announced a change to the agency’s mission statement: removing “promises of inclusion and discrimination-free communities.” The new mission statement promotes “self-sufficiency,” an oft-used phrase by Trump officials. The changes to HUD’s mission statement are unfortunately unsurprising, given that the Trump administration has been particularly harmful to communities of color and LGBTQ people. And, they fall in line with Trump’s personal history of discriminating against African Americans for spots in his properties.

At the same time that Carson is removing important anti-discrimination language and telling people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, he’s proposing huge cuts to programs that ensure underserved communities can get a helping hand. For example, cuts to rental assistance programs “would likely price more than half a million households out of their subsidized homes.” And these types of cuts and policies changes may even be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled “that policies that segregate minorities in poor neighborhoods, even if they do so unintentionally, violate the Fair Housing Act.” At the same time, HUD is ordering “lounge furniture” to the tune of $165,000. At a moment where we are called to reflect on why the structural issues and policy recommendations outlined in the 1968 Kerner Commission report remains ever-relevant 50 years later, it’s clear where Carson’s priorities lie—and it’s not with the under-resourced and marginalized populations that need HUD’s assistance the most.

ACTION OF THE DAY

Protect Our Elections. Yesterday, numerous Democratic senators and representatives spoke out about the threats facing our election systems, particularly from Russia. Read how each state fares in election security in this new, comprehensive report. Then, demand Congress provide funding in this month’s omnibus spending package to invest in the security of America’s election systems before the 2018 midterm elections. Finally, sign our petition demanding that Trump sit down with Mueller and tell the truth.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Suing Over Sanctuaries. Last night, the Trump administration sued California over their state-level immigration laws, specifically regarding so-called sanctuary policies. These laws protect families and communities, by limiting state and local entanglement with immigration enforcement, and counties that have these laws have shown lower levels of crime compared to counties without these protections. California is already hitting back—hard. Kevin de Leon, a California state senator took to Twitter to defend his state, writing, “Based on Jeff Session’s track record in court so far—I like our odds of beating back his racist and xenophobic attack on the CA Values Act.”

A Real Infrastructure Plan. Following President Trump’s release of his infrastructure scam last month, Senate Democrats today unveiled a plan that would actually rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Today’s plan would make a $1 trillion investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and invest in resilient communities, clean energy, and other modernization efforts. As Senator Carper said, “We can either pretend we’re going to invest in our country’s infrastructure, or we can actually do it.”

A Bridge Too Far. Gary Cohn, Trump’s director of the National Economic Council, announced his resignation last night, becoming the latest in a string of Trump appointees fleeing their positions. In fact, the turnover rate at the White House is now 43 percent. But Cohn’s departure may be a bit more significant than other resignations, explained by FiveThirtyEight here. Cohn had been close to leaving the White House before, following Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville attack. It seems that Cohn can stomach blatant support of white
nationalists
—but tariffs on steel and aluminum? Well, that’s just a bridge too far.

UNDER THE RADAR

Offshore Drilling. Remember when the Trump administration proposed the widest expansion of offshore drilling in history? Well, they’ve been accepting public comments since January, and that comment period ends on Friday! Hundreds of localities have already come out in opposition to the plan, as it puts so many coastal communities at risk of a devastating oil spill. Add your concerns, and submit your comments today! Then, check out ProtectOurCoasts.org to learn other ways to get involved.