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Ben Carson Confirmed As HUD Secretary

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Retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has been confirmed to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carson, nominated by President Donald Trump for the position, easily passed the Senate with a vote of 58 to 41, according to The Hill.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine joined all Republicans in the vote for Carson.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia did not cast a vote.

"[Carson] can begin bringing much-needed reforms to the Department of Housing and Urban Development," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

"Once Dr. Carson is confirmed we can begin working on several important issues under HUD’s jurisdiction," said Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho.

Carson will now be in charge of a government agency with an annual budget of $47 billion and employs 8,300 employees, reports USA Today.

HUD is the governmental agency that oversees housing assistance and mortgage insurance for low-income residents, as well as enforces fair housing laws.

"Ben is going to work with me very, very closely. And HUD has a meaning far beyond housing. If properly done, it’s a meaning that’s as big as anything there is, and Ben will be able to find that true meaning and the true meaning of HUD as its secretary," Trump said.

While most Democrats voted against Carson, even some of those who opposed his nomination were lukewarm about their opposition to his nomination.

"Yes, I have serious, deep, profound concerns about Dr. Carson’s inexperience to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development," wrote Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a Facebook post on Jan. 25. "Yes, I adamantly disagree with many of the outrageous things that Dr. Carson said during his presidential campaign. Yes, he is not the nominee I wanted. But 'the nominee I wanted' is not the test."

She added: "During the nomination process, I sent Dr. Carson a nine-page letter with detailed questions on a whole range of issues...Dr. Carson’s answers weren’t perfect. But at his hearing, he committed to track and report on conflicts of interest at the agency. In his written responses to me, he made good, detailed promises, on everything from protecting anti-homelessness programs to enforcing fair housing laws. Promises that -- if they’re honored -- would help a lot of working families."

Sources: The Hill, USA Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren/Facebook / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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