Senate Republicans block Lee Amendment, preserve AFFH

The Lee Amendment to defund President Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation failed in the Senate yesterday because not enough Republicans backed it. The Amendment was tabled by a vote of 60-37.

Jeremy Carl aptly describes this vote as a defeat for conservatism, community control, and common sense. It is a victory, as Carl says, for turning the federal government into a National Zoning board, forcing high density housing on unwilling cities and towns, and letting bureaucrats decide the racial, ethnic and income balance of local communities.

Here is a list of the Republican Senators who backed this left-wing agenda (most of the names won’t surprise you):

Lamar Alexander
Kelly Ayotte
Roy Blunt
Richard Burr
Dan Coats
Thad Cochran
Susan Collins
Lindsey Graham
Orrin Hatch
John Hoeven
Johnny Isakson
Mark Kirk
John McCain
Lisa Murkowski
Rob Portman
Thom Tillis

In place of the Lee Amendment, the Senate passed the bogus Collins amendment. As we have explained, her Amendment does nothing to stop AFFH. It’s simply an attempt — likely an unsuccessful one — by Republican Senators to gain political cover.

Although Mitch McConnell voted for the Lee Amendment, he arguably paved the way for its demise. Had he prevented the Collins Amendment from seeing the light of day, GOP Senators would not have had political cover for voting against Lee’s amendment — a measure backed by all but 16 members of his 54 person caucus.

What’s next? The House may pass an AFFH defund measure; it did last year with the Gosar Amendment.

This year could be different, though, because Paul Ryan, the bleeding heart conservative, is now Speaker. Last year, having just become Speaker, he gave away the Gosar Amendment in the Omnibus negotiations. This year, he may prevent such an amendment from seeing the light of day. Alternatively, he may give it away again in negotiations with the Senate.

The other way to stop AFFH is by electing a president who will overturn the regulation. The presumptive Democratic nominee strongly supports AFFH. As for the presumptive Republican nominee, who knows?