A group of congressional Republicans is calling on Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to undo the housing discrimination rule advanced under former President Barack Obama, saying the regulation will punish communities that are not as diverse as the Obama administration would have wished.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee joined with 12 other senators and seven representatives late Friday to ask Carson to rescind the rule, known as "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing."
"We stand with you in opposing any and all instances of discrimination, but this rule does not actually help in that effort," the senators wrote, warning that the rule would increase federal involvement in local zoning decisions.
A spokesman for Carson said Monday that he had received the letter and would review it but offered no comment.
Before taking office, Carson criticized the rule, finalized in 2015, as an "attempt to legislate racial equality" that was doomed to fail, raising expectations that he would seek to reverse it.
But he hasn't addressed the regulation since becoming head of the agency responsible for it.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing was the Obama administration's attempt to implement a part of the 1968 Fair Housing Act requiring agencies to ensure that housing aid reduced discrimination.
In their letter, the Republican lawmakers raised the fear that federal funds contingent on HUD approval, including Community Development Block Grants, could be withheld from communities that decline to accept the strings attached to the funds by the rule.
Separately, the Trump administration has called for ending Community Development Block Grant funding altogether, saying the grants have failed to provide benefits.