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Ben Carson sends Oreos to lawmaker after flubbing REO question

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Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson addressed a gaffe made Tuesday at a House Committee on Financial Services hearing with an attempt at a self-deprecating joke.

“OH, REO! Thanks, @RepKatiePorter,” Carson tweeted. “Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!”

Attached were two photos: one of Carson holding a package of Oreos and one with a note for Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat from California.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson with Oreo cookies
Twitter

Carson was asked by Porter about REOs; the acronym stands for “real estate-owned” and it is used to discuss foreclosed properties.

“An Oreo?” Carson responded, before Porter explained the term.

Oreos and note to Rep. Katie Porter
Twitter

Read more: HUD Secretary Ben Carson confused a basic foreclosure term for the name of a cookie in congressional testimony

“Respectfully, that was my day job before I came to Congress,” Porter later said to Carson, in response to him saying he could connect her with the people at HUD who work on foreclosures. “I spent a decade working with the people at HUD on this problem.”

Before being elected to Congress in 2018, the congresswoman was a law professor at University of California, Irvine, where her expertise includes bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosure.

“In March 2012, Professor Porter was appointed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to be the state’s independent monitor of banks in a nationwide $25 billion mortgage settlement,” her UCI bio explains. “As Monitor, she oversaw the banks’ implementation of the settlement reforms and conducted extensive community outreach and education.”

Carson, an author, former Republican presidential candidate, and renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead HUD, an agency created in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his Great Society.

As Curbed points out, “ Ben Carson, has been criticized by housing advocates for being unprepared for the position and underinformed about the role that this massive agency plays in the lives of many Americans.” (He was also knocked for using taxpayer dollars to purchase a $31,000 dining table for his office.)

HUD’s mission is to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all,” according to its website, and the agency is tasked with affordable housing, rental assistance, and helping owners avoid foreclosure, among a host of duties.

The Trump administration, however, continues to whack the department’s budget. The 2020 budget is proposing “$44.1 billion in discretionary funding, a 16.4 percent decrease from 2019 funding levels,” Curbed explained in March of this year.

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