Funding for Affordable Housing Programs at Risk

By Debra Mayes

June 24, 2013

The regular appropriations process has begun in Congress, but the two chambers are still divided over the level of funding to provide the government in the upcoming fiscal year. The Senate has proposed an overall spending level for FY 2014 of $1.053 trillion, but the House level is only $967 billion- a $91 billion gap. The House budget includes the painful cuts required by sequestration, but appropriators have provided additional funding for military and defense programs, placing the burden of the sequestration cuts on programs that help the most vulnerable populations in America. The Senate budget assumes that a deal will be reached to replace sequestration with more targeted spending cuts.

This difference in spending levels will have a huge impact on housing and community development spending; the House announced recently that the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill will be marked up $4.3 billion lower than current sequester levels. Though the Senate has not announced its allocations yet, the THUD spending level is expected to be substantially higher than in the House.

If the appropriations process is to move forward, the House and the Senate will need to agree on an overall top-line funding level.

You can reach your House member by contacting the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 or by going to their web site at www.house.gov.  Once connected to your House members' office, ask to speak to the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff and ask them to communicate the following points to your congressional representative immediately.

(1) The $1.6 billion House T-HUD allocation for CDBG is unacceptable; they need to support $3.3 billion for CDBG in FY14.

 (2) Your congressional representative needs to reach out to Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA), Chairman of the T-HUD Subcommittee and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, immediately to voice opposition to the $1.6 billion number for CDBG and to ask that the CDBG allocation be increased to $3.3 billion, the amount supported by the CDBG Coalition and by 144 House members who signed on to the House CDBG support letter earlier this year.

 (3) Ask the Legislative Director/Chief of Staff to follow-up with you once they have spoken to your representative.

A sample letter that has been forwarded to elected officials by another organization - Sample Letter

From  Ken Lengieza, OCCD Vice President - "We were going to talk about this very issue at the first session Thursday morning July 26 and it could also be talked about Wednesday afternoon with Brad Cole.  But it looks like we need to get people to call now."  

 

Four talking points in addition to the usual ones:

1.  Every Free Enterprise Economy that has been successful, has had strong government investment in infrastructure

2.  For years experts were worried that at this time in the early 21st century we would have not have enough of a labor force to support our aging population.  But productivity has increased so much that  we have right now have a labor surplus!  At the same time, we have decaying infrastructure and neighborhoods and have an opportunity to be able to put people to work to solve this, which Congress is in the process of passing by.

3.  We have a large national debt because of large transfer payments and  waste in the federal government.  CDBG  carries out a national objective while letting decisions be made closest to home.    It ensures investments in low income and working class neighborhoods hit hard by the financial crisis and is very open to public scrutiny.

4.  National debt that builds infrastructure,  ie water, sewer, streets, park improvements, housing, where the life or term of the benefit EXCEEDS the term of the debt, is passing more benefit than debt to our grandchildren.  It cannot be put into the same category of transfer payments or bloated defense contracts.  We need long term investment in working class areas, not a continuing boost to the short term economy of southern Maryland and northern Virginia!"

Keywords: fy2014 budget
Comments (1) - Post a Comment
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downie at 10:17pm EDT - September 23, 2018


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