Lynne Patton, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official in charge of the region encompassing New York and New Jersey, appeared to violate federal rules on Tuesday by issuing a message from her official Twitter account demanding action from New York's housing authority.
In the tweet, Patton acknowledges that her message violates federal shutdown protocols but adds that she doesn't care, demanding the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) act to restore heat and hot water to more than 10,000 residents who spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day without the utilities.
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE GRATEFUL BECAUSE THEIR HEAT & HOT WATER WAS TURNED BACK ON FASTER THAN BEFORE. THESE ARE BASIC HUMAN CONDITIONS & EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL AMERICANS. I DON’T CARE IF I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE TWEETING DURING THE SHUTDOWN. FIX IT, @NYCHA!!! pic.twitter.com/eUasbvmw5P— Lynne Patton (HUD) (@LynnePattonHUD) January 22, 2019
Patton's tweet followed a report from the New York Post in which residents complained of having to boil water on the stove just to avoid freezing in icy winter temperatures.
“No heat, no hot water! It’s cold in here! We got the stove going all day and still freezing! It’s so cold in here. It’s terrible!” one city resident told the paper.
In a statement to The Hill, a HUD spokesman reiterated the agency's warning that Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonSunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant Race is not central to Rittenhouse case — but the media shout it anyway Trump endorses primary challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan MORE would step in with federal oversight if the city's housing issues do not improve.
"HUD has been having ongoing conversations with the Mayor and his team about the City’s plan for the housing authority," the HUD spokesman said.
"Last week, the City submitted its proposal to HUD and SDNY, which we are evaluating. As previously stated, Secretary Carson is prepared to declare an event of substantial default if the City’s plan does not meet the key principles HUD has outlined for addressing the serious health and safety hazards in the housing authority’s properties," the spokesman added.
Patton, who was scheduled to take over leadership of the HUD region this month, was prevented from starting the position due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
“Today I was slated to move into @NYCHA. Due to the shutdown, I cannot until it is lifted,” Patton tweeted on Jan. 7.
Today I was slated to move into @NYCHA. Due to the shutdown, I cannot until it is lifted. The Anti-Deficiency Act (31 USC 1341) prohibits federal officials from performing certain duties. The move-in is considered acting in my official capacity. Look forward to a new start date! pic.twitter.com/5pt2r55nck— Lynne Patton (HUD) (@LynnePattonHUD) January 7, 2019
The shutdown reached its 32nd day on Tuesday, as Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach a deal to fund the government that also meets the White House's demand for more than $5 billion in funding for construction of a border wall.
—Updated at 5:24 p.m.