The Corner

Politics & Policy

Last Best Chance to Stop AFFH

One good chance remains to stop President Obama’s stunningly ambitious drive to change the way Americans live—his Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation (AFFH). A truly radical initiative—no less ambitious in scope than Obamacare—AFFH is designed to re-engineer nearly every American neighborhood, imposing quotas by race, ethnicity, and English proficiency, densifying housing, transportation, and business development in suburb and city alike, and thoroughly undermining the political and economic independence of local governments. AFFH spells the beginning of the end of local government in America. It is Obama’s quietest yet most cherished goal. AFFH can be stopped, however, and it may be stymied in the coming days.

The Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Bill is headed for conference sometime in the next few weeks. While the TUUD bill may continue to stand alone, it will more likely be incorporated into a massive Omnibus spending bill to be completed by mid-December.

Earlier this year the House passed an amendment by Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) preventing the Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing AFFH. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and several co-sponsors have introduced a similar amendment, in the Senate, which may or may not pass.

At minimum, a House-Senate conference committee will decide whether the Gosar language is to be retained in the final bill. Particularly if the Gosar Amendment becomes part of an Omnibus bill, president Obama will almost certainly be forced to sign it. This would effectively defund AFFH for the next 10 months, marking a very significant blow to one of the president’s most troubling domestic transformations.

Of course the funding issue would have to be fought again. And Hillary’s election would make it very difficult to block AFFH over the long term. But successful incorporation of the Gosar amendment in the forthcoming THUD/Omnibus bill would represent a major victory for opponents of AFFH.

The question is whether Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, the Republican leaders in the Senate and House, will make a serious effort to keep Gosar’s language in the bill. That in turn will depend on whether voters contact their congressional representatives and urge them to support the Gosar and Lee amendments, while pressing the Republican leadership in the Congress to retain Gosar’s language in the bill. Will the AFFH issue be lost in the wave of concern over the Paris terror attacks, or will talk radio take the issue up in earnest in the coming days and weeks? A lot will hinge on that.

The GOP base is about as frustrated with its congressional leadership as can be right now. But I wonder if AFFH might be an issue on which the party as a whole can agree. The Gosar amendment passed the House with support from the vast majority of Republicans. AFFH just may give the Republican leadership a way of beginning to re-earn the confidence of the base. The fate of one of President Obama’s most radical transformations is on the line.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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