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Washington, D.C. – In today’s Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) questioned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—former Goldman Sachs partner and noted “Foreclosure King”—about his agency’s efforts to address the affordable housing crisis.
“One area that is very difficult in the state of Nevada, right now…is affordable housing. [Nationwide,] one in four renters pays more than [half] of their income for rent and utilities. [Almost half of renters pay more than 30%] of their income for rent and utilities. Only about five million families live in public housing or benefit from Section 8 or other housing assistance programs. For every low income family who gets some housing assistance, four families receive no assistance at all,” said Cortez Masto.
She continued, “Wages are stagnant or increasing modestly, but the rent is going up. When will the Treasury address the affordable rental housing crisis? Also, are you working with the President to make sure that funding for affordable housing is included in the infrastructure plan he is planning to roll out?”
In response, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin agreed that affordable housing was an “important issue,” but could not offer any examples of actions the Treasury Department is taking to address it. He then admitted that he is not “specifically” working to ensure that funding for affordable housing is included in the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan.
At the height of the housing crisis, Steve Mnuchin oversaw 36,000 foreclosures, including 3,654 in Nevada alone, in his role as CEO and Owner of OneWest Bank (formerly called IndyMac). OneWest was widely known for its predatory and unforgiving practices that caused active-duty service members, veterans, families, and single moms to be left on the streets. A judge in Wisconsin cited the bank’s “harsh, repugnant, shocking, and repulsive” practices when deciding a suit against them. Cortez Masto voted against his confirmation to lead the Treasury Department last February.
A video of their exchange is available here.