The Senate on Thursday confirmed Dr. Ben Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, backing him on a largely party-line vote of 58-41.
A handful of Democrats, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Mark Warner of Virginia, joined a united Republican bloc in support of the nominee, who will become HUD’s 17th secretary.
Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who voted for Carson in the Senate Banking Committee, switched her vote after taking heat from progressives. Her office did not respond to requests for comment.
Carson will manage a nearly $50 billion budget and some 8,000 employees who oversee most of the nation’s affordable housing programs.
The retired neurosurgeon has no experience with housing or mortgage policy but won broad support from lawmakers and industry groups after his confirmation hearing, where he promised to uphold anti-discrimination rules in housing and eliminate the use of lead paint.
“I’ll give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt. That’s why I am voting for him,” said Brown, the top-ranked Democrat on the Banking Committee. “He made the commitment under oath to our committee that he would fight discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation.”