The deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Pam Patenaude is resigning due to disagreements with members of the Trump administration regarding Trump’s efforts to block disaster-relief money for Puerto Rico, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Patenaude, HUD’s second in command, notified HUD Secretary Ben Carson of her planned departure last month and was expected to transition out of the role in January.
According to the Post, Patenaude reportedly grew frustrated by the White House’s attempt to block federal relief money to Puerto Rico following the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The deputy secretary expressed concern in fall 2018 over the Trump administration’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money Congress appropriated for the island and states hit by hurricanes.
“I didn’t push back,” Patenaude told the Post. “I advocated for Puerto Rico and assured the White House that Puerto Rico had sufficient financial controls in place and had put together a thoughtful housing and economic development recovery plan.”
The Hill reports:
Carlos Mercader, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, told the Post that Patenaude showed the “most commitment to Puerto Rico of any of the public officials inside the Trump administration.” Mercader joined Patenaude on several trips to the island.
Patenaude’s departure comes as HUD faces criticism for not renewing hundreds of expired affordable-housing contracts prior to the beginning of the partial government shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday. The Post noted that the move not to renew such contracts jeopardizes property owners’ budgets and low-income tenants’ housing stability.
“These jobs are all-consuming,” Patenaude told the Post. “There are no ulterior motives. I’m not mad at the administration.”