The Corner

Lee Amendment Can Stop AFFH

Congress once again has a very real chance to stop President Obama’s wildly overreaching Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. Senator Mike Lee has proposed an amendment to defund AFFH. The amendment should reach the floor for a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. This is the time for readers who oppose AFFH to contact your senators and press them to support the Lee Amendment.

AFFH puts unaccountable federal bureaucrats in charge of your local government. It’s not too strong to say that over the long term, AFFH spells the effective end of local government in America and a shift to a federally controlled “regionalist” system instead. For a sense of what that means, consider the way in which the Obama administration took control of housing in Dubuque, and the reaction in Dubuque itself to my attack on that federal takeover. Or consider the way in which the Obama administration’s attempt to take control of housing in Westchester County, New York is now threatening free speech everywhere. Senator Lee himself has just taken on AFFH in a piece entitled, “We Don’t Need a National Zoning Board.”

Senators considering their vote on the Lee Amendment need to keep the politics as well as the substance of this issue in mind. AFFH is a political nightmare for the Democrats. That’s why they put so much effort into keeping AFFH under the radar. Yet the issue is already catching far more public attention than it ever has before. It’s been increasingly discussed on talk radio, and conservative writers are beginning to take notice as well. More important, AFFH itself is going to begin hitting localities intensely in the coming years. Public uproar is destined to grow. Senators need to ask themselves if they want to be on record in favor of AFFH once the rule itself takes full effect and stirs up public outrage.

The House has already passed the Gosar Amendment defunding AFFH twice. House Republicans supported that amendment by an overwhelming margin. AFFH’s overreach is so egregious that it unites all factions of the Republican Party. So if the Lee Amendment passes the Senate, its equivalent is very likely to carry again in the House.

Defunding AFFH would go a long way toward uniting a divided Republican party, and that could have a big effect in this election year. Moderate Democrats who go on record in favor of AFFH are going to be in some serious trouble as well once this regulation begins to function in the coming months and years. Senators of all parties should take note. This vote is destined to be remembered.

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

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