Trump Moves To Gut Obama-Era Housing Discrimination Rules
Former President Barack Obama put rules in place with the intention to further combat racial segregation, but President Donald Trump is ready to move forward with rolling those protections back, according to Politico — “potentially making it easier for banks to deny loans to black and Hispanic people or for cities to confine poor families to minority neighborhoods.”
The changes will come from a handful of Trump officials and agencies, the news outlet reported, including Housing Secretary Ben Carson.
Carson is preparing to “scrap an Obama policy withholding federal funds from cities if they don’t address segregation.”
In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking to trim down data collection that helps keep an eye on discrimination in the housing market.
Trump is also targeting the very same law his own family was accused of violating in the 1970s, Politico noted, when President Richard Nixon’s Justice Department sued the Trump Organization for trying to bar black people from renting apartments. The company eventually settled, but Trump has insisted his family did nothing wrong.
Another Trump official — Joseph Otting, who heads the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — is looking to revamp rules governing the Community Reinvestment Act, which is “a 1977 law designed to reverse decades of discriminatory government policy discouraging lending and investment in poor neighborhoods.”
Banks are required to lend and invest in low-income communities, and Otting wants to change the way that spending is evaluated by looking only at the amount banks are lending and investing rather than considering how that money is being used.
Critics say the change “might allow banks to meet their obligations under the CRA by funding construction projects, such as hospitals or sports stadiums, that aren’t explicitly designed to serve local residents.”
Thomas Silverstein of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law summed up his concerns for Politico: “I think there’s an effort by this administration to narrow the scope and the sort of meaning of civil rights protections so there’s just a hollowed-out husk of what’s actually protected.”