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Under Carson's vision, big changes could come to HUD

Under Carson's vision, big changes could come to HUD
© Greg Nash

The way the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs could change under Ben Carson, if the Senate confirms him to helm the agency.

During a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, Carson spoke frequently about approaching HUD management from a more "holistic" angle.

Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott to participate in GOP event in Iowa Shocking killing renews tensions over police Democrat: 'Registration, engagement' are keys to toppling Sen. Tim Scott in South Carolina MORE (R-S.C.) asked the former presidential candidate to talk more about that vision.

"The reason that I concentrate so much on the holistic approach, when I look back on an agency like HUD, is that it has programs targeted at specific problems. It has seen progress, but the progress has not been as great as one would like to see," Carson said.

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"One of the things that I discovered as a neurosurgeon, you’re much more effective when you bring in a bigger-picture view of things. Instead of looking at a tumor someone has in their brain [consider]… how can you bring health to this entire individual … and put them in an environment where they can thrive."

"That’s the same here," he continued.

Carson then said he wanted to place a larger emphasis on healthcare — for example, putting more clinics into neighborhoods so people don’t have to pay high out-of pocket costs at an emergency room.

"That’s what I’m talking about by a holistic approach — it saves us so much money," he said, though HUD would be unlikely to have a say in healthcare policy plans.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) then asked Carson to commit to advocating for a robust budget for HUD, currently a $48 billion agency.

During the campaign, Carson talked about wanting to cut the budget at all federal agencies.

Carson said he would, adding that he aspires to go to a listening tour to create a "world-class plan on housing in this country."

"And then I want to come to you with that plan," he continued. "I don’t know what that [budget] number is. … It might be more, it might be less, but it will be what is required to do what we need to do."