WASHINGTON – The Senate Banking Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the nomination of Ben Carson as the next Housing and Urban Development secretary.

The vote means the nomination will move to the full Senate, where it is likely to be swiftly approved.

During the vote on the nomination, Republican panel members praised Carson, a neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential candidate, pointing to more than 20 letters of support from affordable housing advocates, industry groups and other stakeholders.

Senate Democrats said they continued to have reservations about Ben Carson's lack of experience in housing issues. Bloomberg News

"Dr. Carson has achieved a great deal of success during his impressive and accomplished career, and I was encouraged by his recent testimony before the committee," said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo. "He is committed to carrying forth the mandate of HUD and learning more from people directly affected by HUD policies. Now that his nomination has been voted favorably out of the Committee, it is my hope that the full senate will follow suit in a timely manner.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, acknowledged that he would not have chosen Carson to lead HUD due to his lack of experience on housing issues.

"But despite my reservations, and my disagreements with some of his positions, I will give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt based on commitments he has made to me in person and to this committee in his testimony and written responses," Brown said.

"This includes Dr. Carson’s promises to address the scourge of lead hazards that threaten the health and futures of children in Ohio and nationwide; uphold the Fair Housing Act and the housing rights of LGBTQ individuals; and advocate for rental assistance, investment to end homelessness, and including housing in the President’s infrastructure plan. I will do everything in my power to hold Dr. Carson accountable for making good on his promises.”

Rob Nichols, the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, said Carson will bring a fresh perspective to HUD.

“Improving FHA will be an important priority, and we hope to work with Dr. Carson to bring greater stability and long term viability to its programs, as well as a return to a more balanced business relationship between FHA and its lenders," Nichols said in a statement.

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