Biden will nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sources familiar with the president-elect’s decision told ABC News.
Fudge, who had campaigned openly to become the first Black secretary of agriculture, would be the second member of the Congressional Black Caucus to join the Biden administration, following Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a key Biden surrogate who will serve as a senior White House official.
She would be Biden’s third African-American cabinet nominee, after Linda Thomas-Greenfield, his pick to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who he said Tuesday would be his nominee to lead the Pentagon.
The move would put Fudge at the helm of the $50 billion department as the country faces a potential housing crisis in the new year — with many Americans struggling to pay rent, and others worried they will not be able to do so in the next few months as the economy continues to languish due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Approached by reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Fudge said she hadn’t been formally offered the job by Biden, but said the two had spoken previously.
“If I were to be named, certainly it’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to be in a president’s Cabinet,” she said. “If I can help this president in any way possible, I am more than happy to do it.”
Fudge, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and Committee on Education and Labor, represents the Cleveland area, as well as Akron, Ohio.
When she was openly campaigning for the nomination to lead the department of agriculture, she lamented the possibility of leading HUD.
“As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in. You know, it’s always ‘we want to put the Black person in labor or HUD,'” she toldÂ PoliticoÂ last month.
Fudge’s move to the Biden administration would further tighten House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s fragile majority, making it even harder for Democrats to pass any legislation until Fudge’s replacement is seated later next year.
“I’m in a safe district,” Fudge told reporters. “We’re just hopeful that if this works out the way we’d like it to, that it will be OK.”
-ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel, Katherine Faulders, Beatrice Peterson and John Verhovek