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SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC HOUSING BILL PLUMMETS
WASHINGTON - Support for public housing legislation (H.R. 2) plummeted in a House vote today, resulting in a dramatic loss of more than 60 votes from last year's effort to pass the bill. The House voted on an amendment to the VA/HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 4194) that would deny housing assistance to almost two million poor elderly and children in order to make room in public housing for moderate and middle income families, making as much as $40,000. Today's vote, 230 to 181, dropped in support from last year's vote of 293 to 132. Only 15 Democrats supported the bill, compared with 71 last year. The Clinton Administration has said senior advisors will recommend a presidential veto if the public housing bill is approved.
In response, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo said:
"Today's vote proves that legislative extortion does not pay. Attaching this bill to appropriations was a last-ditch, desperate effort to pass legislation that has failed again and again during the past four years. In truth, the more people see and hear about this bill, the less they like it and the deeper their concern and opposition to it grows. Democrats, who previously supported this bill, are realizing its extremes and the dire consequences for the elderly and children this bill will undoubtedly harm.
"In an apparent effort to "mix income" in public housing the House bill would make almost 2 million seniors and children virtually homeless. For them, the House bill would be the equivalent of a housing death sentence: no housing for life.
"The Administration's position is an intelligent balance which would allow mixed income in public housing and provide for the most vulnerable with Section 8 vouchers for every lower-income family displaced from the waiting list."
H.R. 2 would give greater priority to people making as much as $40,000 to be admitted to public housing, allowing them to gain housing before lower-income families. Since no new public housing is being built and existing waiting lists are years long, these lower income families will have no option whatsoever. A total of 3 million low-income people would be denied access to public and federally-assisted housing, including 1.8 million seniors and children.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009