Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released this statement following the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) reinstatement of the 2013 Disparate Impact Rule, which implements disparate impact protections under the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
“From rooting out discriminatory algorithms and financial technology to exclusionary zoning and tenant screening processes, the disparate impact standard is a key provision of the Fair Housing Act and arguably the most important tool for enforcing the civil rights law in today’s rapidly evolving housing market. Disparate impact is a legal standard that allows victims of housing discrimination to challenge policies and practices that appear neutral on their face, but that has the impact of discriminating against protected classes of people under the law.
“I commend the Biden Administration for reinstating the 2013 disparate impact rule that was finalized under the Obama Administration but dismantled by the Trump Administration in September 2020. Back then, under my leadership as former Chair, Committee Democrats unanimously opposed the previous administration’s harmful 2020 proposed rule, which was also challenged in three separate lawsuits and ultimately enjoined by the U.S. District Court in the District of Massachusetts.
“Today, fair housing remains a dream deferred for too many people across the country, exacerbating our nation’s racial wealth gap, the housing affordability crisis, and homelessness. The reinstatement of the 2013 disparate impact rule is a major step toward achieving housing justice for all, as our nation promised nearly 55 years ago.”
- On May 7, 2021, then Chairwoman Waters held a Task Force hearing entitled, “Equitable Algorithms: How Human-Centered AI Can Address Systemic Racism and Racial Justice in Housing and Financial Services,” which covered the role of the disparate impact standard in rooting our racial bias and discrimination in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- On December 4, 2020, then Chairwoman Waters provided recommendations to then President-Elect Biden on areas where the incoming administration should reverse Trump's actions, including rescinding the 2020 disparate impact rule and reinstating the 2013 final rule.
- On September 24, 2020, then Chairwoman Waters called on the Trump Administration to rescind its disparate impact rule that would have made it harder to prove discrimination in housing.
- On November 22, 2019, Committee Democrats unanimously opposed the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the 2013 disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act.
- In April 2019, then Chairwoman Waters convened a hearing specifically focused on housing discrimination entitled, “The Fair Housing Act: Reviewing Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination and Promote Opportunity in Housing.”
- In 2018, Ranking Member Waters introduced legislation to restore several fair housing protections that HUD Secretary Ben Carson eliminated.
- In 2015, Congresswoman Waters led the effort to submit a Congressional amicus brief in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al. in support of the disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act. The Supreme Court upheld the disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act.