Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing
White House Oval Office Washington D.C. June 25 2:07 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Appreciate you being here. I'd like to take a few moments to describe what we're doing on numerous fronts, but we're going to take a major step in our historic regulatory reduction campaign.
Today, we begin a bold new initiative to bring down the cost of housing for American families. So important.
In a few moments, I will sign an executive order launching the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing.
I'm grateful to be joined by the chair of this new Council, Secretary Ben Carson. We're also pleased to have with us Senators Tim Scott and Martha McSally. And here with us are Clyde from Congress - Clyde Holland; Greg Ugalde; Bonnie Roberts-Burke; Pastor Darryl Scott; and - you're not a congressman yet, Pastor, but you could be if you wanted to, I can tell. Would you like to run for Congress? Because you'd win pretty easily, I think.
PASTOR SCOTT: A government job? I don't know. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: But thank you for being here, Pastor.
PASTOR SCOTT: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Kareem Lanier. All the people who really care so much about affordable housing - what it means and how important it is for our country.
Overregulation of housing and housing market is a primary cause of the rising housing costs across our country. Nationwide, it's estimated that the regulations account for more than 25 percent of the cost of a new home. Think of that. So, regulation and unnecessary regulation is 25 percent the cost of a new home.
As a result, the supply of affordable housing cannot keep up with the demand. Today, over 37 million American households have to spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
So, what I'd like to do is ask Ben Carson, who's really devoted a lot of his time and effort on this tremendous overregulation problem - I'd like to have Ben Carson, Secretary, to say a few words. Ben?
SECRETARY CARSON: My pleasure. Well, thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for your continued commitment to the people of America.
Today, I'm privileged to be here for the creation of the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, which I have the great honor to chair.
The Council, which consists of members across eight federal agencies, will lead federal efforts to engage with state, local, and tribal leaders across the country to the remove obstacles that impede the production of more affordable homes, namely the enormous price tag of burdensome government regulations.
The President has given us a mission to break down barriers and to clear the path for the millions of Americans to pursue their American Dream. It's a mission we proudly and enthusiastically accept.
As the President just said, more than 25 percent of the cost of a new home is the direct result of federal, state, and local regulations. And sometimes, the price tag is much higher than that.
President Trump's decades of experience as a world-renowned builder and developer gives this administration's leadership a unique set of insights when confronting the challenges of developing more housing.
Today's announcement recognizes the need for federal policies to serve Americans of all income levels, including working-class Americans - like teachers, and nurses, and auto-mechanics, construction workers, policemen, firemen - whose struggles are sometimes forgotten.
And I would also like to thank President Trump and the leadership of this administration, many of whom are here today, for once again fulfilling that great promise that the forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no longer.
I look forward to working alongside my fellow councilmembers in the months ahead as we use these efforts to continue to build the pillars of prosperity that support all the men and women of this country in their quest for that portion of the American Dream that includes a home. The home is the foundation of the community, which is the foundation of the nation. And we can do this if we all work together. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That's very nice.
How about Tim Scott? Where's Tim?
SENATOR SCOTT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Tim, do you want to say a few words, please?
SENATOR SCOTT: Mr. President, thank you for this executive order. There's no doubt that a regulatory reset that is responsible will help more Americans who are credit-worthy achieve their goal, their aspiration, of having a part, a share, in this nation.
The American Dream so often is seen through the prism of homeownership. This executive order will accelerate the path of responsible homeownership and is proof positive that your conscientious, compassionate, conservative leadership is undeniably focused on the most vulnerable folks of our economic chain.
THE PRESIDENT: Very nice. Did you read that?
SENATOR SCOTT: No, sir.
MS. ROBERTS-BURKE: That was right off the top of his head.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. That was very good. Thank you, Tim.
SENATOR SCOTT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Martha?
SENATOR MCSALLY: President Trump, thank you so much for this executive order. In the first 90 days as a senator in Arizona, I visited all 15 counties. We're a very diverse state and our economy is growing, but a top theme is affordable housing.
And there are many barriers to that, and so this group, coming together to cut across those barriers - federal, state, and local - to provide more opportunities at lower cost so everybody can meet their full potential, is really important for my constituents. And so I'm grateful for this administration.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Thank you, Martha. Great job.
PASTOR SCOTT: Mr. President, during the 2016 campaign, you stated that you would implement national policy to revitalize the urban communities of this great country and - well, all the communities, urban and rural - and I think is just a part - this dovetails on the Opportunity Zones and the things that are being done in those designated areas. And this makes it - makes the revitalization process that much more obtainable. So we thank you for it.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And thank you for bringing up the word "Opportunity Zones" - the words - because Tim Scott had so much to do with that. And it's far beyond our expectation. That's a little different than what we're talking about today, but while you bring up that term - it's a beautiful term. Tim Scott came to see me a little while ago, toward the beginning, but not that long ago -
SENATOR SCOTT: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And, Tim, I don't mind if you say just a couple of things about what's happened, because the Opportunity Zones have just taken off in this country.
SENATOR SCOTT: Yes, sir. Mr. President, because of your leadership, frankly, we have seen incredible growth in the Opportunity Zones.
Here's just a couple of examples. I think it's important for us to remember that, in Opportunity Zones, the average person is living in a place where the poverty rate is at 31 percent. Nationally, our poverty rate is at 12.5 percent. Because of your legislation that you signed, sir, we've seen an 8 percent increase in wages within the zones. We've seen a 20 percent increase in property values in the zones.
That's really important for two reasons. Number one, over 50 percent of the folks in the zones own their property. So that means that we're seeing net worth increase because of the Opportunity Zone legislation. So that's really important.
Number two, the fact of the matter is, when you put more pressure on those zones, you attract more resources in it.
And from the Treasury's perspective, we could see upwards of more than $50 billion descending upon these zones, creating opportunities and workforce housing that we're talking about today. And that is an important part of the equation.
And that is brought to us by your leadership and your willingness to have the conversation about moving people in distressed communities forward. Thank you for saying yes to Opportunity Zone legislation.