AUSTIN (KXAN) — The White House dispatched Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to Austin Wednesday to lead a roundtable on the federal government’s response to homelessness, joined by Rep. Chip Roy.
Roy, a Republican up for reelection in Texas’ 21st Congressional District, is locked in one of the tightest races in Texas with only 13 days remaining before Election Day. He used the opportunity at the roundtable to blast the Austin City Council for cuts to the police department budget.
“I’ll be the guy that ventures a toe in the political waters here,” Roy said in his opening remarks. “The worst thing you could do right now is cut the Austin Police Department’s budget by a third. That is not the right direction to go.”
Roy was the only elected leader, and the only member of Central Texas’ congressional delegation, in attendance at the roundtable, which included the executive director of the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation.
A HUD spokesperson confirmed later on Wednesday neither members of Austin City Council or other members of Central Texas’ congressional delegation were invited to the event.
“The Secretary revealed that, just as with COVID, health care and most every other issue, President Trump has no plan for those experiencing homelessness,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat who represents part of Austin in Texas’ 35th Congressional District. “Like Trump, too many Republican officials view homelessness as a wedge issue to divide our community instead of uniting us behind practical solutions to help the most vulnerable.”
In a statement to KXAN, Roy’s opponent Wendy Davis called the roundtable a “taxpayer-funded campaign stop.”
“The bottom line is this: administration officials parachuting in at the last minute can’t help Roy change the subject from his dangerous record on this deadly virus,” Davis said.