|Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z|
HUD Archives: News Releases
CUOMO SAYS HUD LEGISLATION APPROVED BY HOUSE TODAY MAKES PRESIDENT CLINTON'S VISION FOR HUD AND HOUSING A REALITY
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said public housing legislation overwhelmingly approved today by the House on a 409-14 vote "makes President Clinton's landmark housing reforms a reality and achieves his key goals."
The public housing legislation is part of a larger measure that includes HUD's $24.5 billion budget for the current fiscal year. Funding for HUD's key programs and renewals of Section 8 rental assistance is increased by a total of about $2.7 billion in the budget over 1998 levels (about $1.3 billion in increased program spending and about $1.4 billion more for Section 8 renewals). Spending was not cut in any HUD programs in the budget. The legislation, which was approved by a House-Senate Conference Committee on Monday, is scheduled to go to the Senate this week.
The measure also raises the loan limits on mortgages insured by HUD's Federal Housing Administration, to help more families become homeowners.
Commenting on the public housing legislation, President Clinton said: "I am pleased that my Administration has agreed with the Congress on a bipartisan housing bill that incorporates all of the essential principles for which we have fought during the long, difficult negotiations that led to this agreement.... This legislation will put America back in the business of providing new affordable housing, will transform public housing, and will increase homeownership opportunities.... I thank HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo for his extraordinary work on this legislation and the many Democrats who worked tirelessly to make significant progress in our housing policies, and I commend those Republicans who cooperated in our efforts to transform public housing. "
"I must note, however, that this legislation is contained within the Fiscal Year1999 Appropriations bill for VA, HUD and other Independent Agencies - and that I remain concerned about the funding levels provided for certain environmental and economic development programs in that bill," the President said.
Secretary Cuomo said: "The bipartisan legislation implements President Clinton's visionary plans to transform public housing from segregated ghettos of poverty and despair into economically integrated communities of opportunity. The legislation also creates affordable housing for 90,000 more families and promotes homeownership through higher FHA loan limits."
"I would especially like to thank Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman Joseph Kennedy for their effective work to win approval of this important legislation," Cuomo said.
The historic legislation approved today would overhaul HUD's policies and programs by:
Cuomo said that as important as what the legislation contains are the provisions that were scrapped from inclusion in the bill. He said the legislation does not contain sections of a public housing bill passed earlier by the House that "repeal" the 1937 Housing Act, or harmful income eligibility provisions, or a punitive mandatory work provision for public housing residents that some members of Congress wanted.
Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee said: "This bipartisan agreement marks a significant milestone in helping to meet the housing needs of this nation. It provides for new solutions, adds needed resources, and gives local agencies greater flexibility in making public housing and homeownership opportunities available to more families throughout the country."
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the Housing Subcommittee, said: "This legislation will put public housing on a strong footing for the future. It provides for increased flexibility for housing agencies, demands increased accountability, and encourages important new public-private partnerships. Finally, I am particularly pleased that it continues to target federal housing assistance to the poor and working poor."
Congressman John LaFalce of New York, Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, said: "I believe the four-year campaign of Congressional Democrats, the Administration and tenant advocates against onerous rent reforms and irresponsible targeting levels has finally brought positive results."
Congressman Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts, Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, said: "This historic reform bill strikes a balance between protecting our nation's commitment to housing the poorest Americans while opening up units in public housing to middle-income families. This win-win legislation is the result of negotiations led by HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who worked with both sides of the aisle to find a way to uphold Democratic principles and deconcentrate poverty in our urban centers."
Here are more details of the HUD public housing bill. The legislation would:
Content Archived: January 20, 2009