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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 99-184
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Wednesday
Or contact your local HUD officeSeptember 8, 1999



WASHINGTON - House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and other senior members of Congress today came out in strong opposition to $1.6 billion in cuts that the House Appropriations Committee made to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's budget in July.

Joining Gephardt, of Missouri, at a news conference were the following Democratic Members of the House of Representatives: David Obey (WI), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee; Barney Frank (MA), Ranking Member of the Banking Committee Subcommittee on Housing; Martin Frost (TX), Chair of the Democratic Caucus; Patrick Kennedy (RI), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Rosa DeLauro (CT), Assistant to the Minority Leader and Member of the Appropriations Committee; John Lewis (GA), Chief Deputy Minority Whip and Member of the Ways and Means Committee; Ed Pastor (AZ), Chief Deputy Minority Whip and Member of the Appropriations Committee; Michael Capuano (MA), Member of the Banking Committee; James Clyburn (SC), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Member of the Appropriations Committee; Nancy Pelosi (CA), Member of the Appropriations Committee; Bruce Vento (MN), Member of the Banking Committee; and Jan Schakowsky (IL), Member of the Banking Committee.

Congressman Gephardt said: "The Republican VA-HUD Appropriations bill drastically cuts funding for some of the most successful community development and affordable housing initiatives taking place around the country. It will reverse the great strides made by the Clinton-Gore Administration and destroy the dreams of the hardest working families struggling to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Working together with Secretary Cuomo and the President, I will do my best to ensure that this bill never becomes law."

The Appropriations Committee's cuts reduce spending on HUD programs by $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2000 below the current year's level. The full House is expected to vote on the HUD budget later this month. The Senate has not yet acted.

HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said the cuts to HUD funding would have a devastating effect on people and places left behind, and are being proposed to finance the $792 billion tax cut approved by the House and Senate.

"The Republican tax cut hurts the poorest families in our nation to help the richest families in our nation," Cuomo said. "By cutting investments that help people work their way out of poverty and build a better future, this reckless tax cut tells families left behind that there's no room for them on the road to the American Dream."

A HUD study issued in August found that the budget cuts would have a devastating impact on the poorest people and communities in America. The study - called Losing Ground: The Impact of HUD Budget Cuts on America's Communities - concluded that the proposed cuts would deprive 97,000 people of jobs, 156,000 families of affordable housing, and 16,000 families and individuals who are homeless or have AIDS of vital housing assistance.

Congressman Frank said: "The response of Congress to a housing crisis for low-income people in many parts of America ought not be to make it worse."

Congressman Kennedy said: "I won't support irresponsible cuts that strip $10 million from the lead hazard reduction budget. This would cripple removal efforts in Rhode Island, where 17 percent of young children statewide suffer from lead poisoning, and in the City of Providence, where that number soars to 30 percent."

Congressman Clyburn said: "Is this Republican Congress really prepared to gut programs that provide basic support for the neediest in our nation in order to fund a tax break for the wealthiest? That is not only illogical. It is insane."

Congressman Capuano said: "The cuts to housing programs in the VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations legislation could not come at a worse time. Rising housing costs in cities and towns across the country have made finding an affordable place to live almost impossible for thousands of working families. We should not abandon these hard-working Americans during this time of unprecedented economic growth."

Congressman Vento said: "The bill we have before us this week continues the theme of the past few years: making housing the honey pot for special interests. While the GOP cut funding for HUD programs by $1.6 billion, they tellingly found funding for 215 special interest pet projects. With nearly 25,000 housing units deemed at risk in Minnesota and an apartment vacancy rate hovering around 1 percent in the Twin Cities, Minnesota families certainly cannot afford to lose over $23 million in next year's federal housing budget."

Congresswoman Schakowsky said: "Congress should be ashamed. The effects of these cuts on the lives of families, seniors and the homeless would be devastating. The $4.5 million that my district stands to lose translates into hundreds of low-income families being left out in the cold. It is time for Congress to take a closer look at our national priorities and attend to the needs of all Americans."

In August, the following groups came out in opposition to cuts to HUD's budget: the National Association of County Officials, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, the National Urban League, the National Council of Senior Citizens, the National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, the Child Welfare League, Meeting America's Housing Needs, and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

HUD's report says cuts to the Department's budget that were approved by the House Appropriations Committee would:

  • Fail to fund the Clinton Administration's request for 100,000 rental assistance vouchers at a time when worst-case housing needs remain at an all-time high and time on waiting lists for housing assistance is growing. Despite a booming economy, a record 5.3 million families have worst case housing needs -- defined as paying over 50 percent of their income on rent. The families are made up of 12.5 million individuals, including 4.5 million children and 1.5 million senior citizens.

  • Fail to fund the rehabilitation of almost 28,000 housing units to create quality housing for low- and moderate- income renter and owner families.

  • Slow down the fight against housing discrimination. The 6 percent cut in the Fair Housing Assistance and Fair Housing Initiatives programs would deny the assistance needed by state and local fair housing agencies to process fair housing complaints and would deny funds to local communities that want to establish new private fair housing organizations where local public agencies do not exist.

  • Increase disadvantaged children's exposure to lead paint poisoning. Lead poisoning is the foremost environmental health risk to American children, especially poor children and those living in older, poorly-maintained housing. The $10 million cut in the Lead Hazard Control Grant program will mean that about 900 private homes will not be made lead safe, putting at least 600 low-income children under 6 years of age at risk of permanent developmental and health problems from elevated blood lead.

  • Deny assistance to almost 16,000 homeless families and people with AIDS, including transitional and permanent housing, mental health counseling, job training and drug treatment.

  • Significantly under-fund job creation nationwide. Community economic development activity under the Community Development Block Grant program would be cut by $250 million from the level enacted in 1999, and $5 million would be cut from the job-generating Brownfields Economic Development Initiative. This means that approximately 97,000 jobs that could be created by these programs would not be created. CDBG is a flexible source of funds used by local officials to create jobs, construct or rehabilitate shelters for the homeless and battered spouses, make buildings accessible to the elderly and handicapped, help working families become first-time homeowners, and fund other community development activities. The Brownfields program provides grants that leverage private dollars to redevelop formerly contaminated commercial and industrial sites.

  • Cut the Administration's requests for critical programs under CDBG, including: the Community Empowerment Fund to develop and expand businesses in distressed areas; Youthbuild to train young people for careers in home construction and rehabilitation; and the Community Outreach Partnership Centers Program that allows colleges and universities to act as community building partners.

  • Deny funding to the proposed America's Private Investment Companies program. Modeled after a highly successful Small Business Administration program, APIC would stimulate $1.5 billion in private investment in large-scale businesses in distressed areas, both urban and rural, every year - at cost of just $37 million for credit subsidy and program operations

Cuomo said now is the time to invest in building a stronger, more prosperous America through HUD programs because:

  • America has the best economy in the world today. This is in contrast to just six and a half years ago, when the budget deficit was $290 billion and rising, wages were stagnant, economic inequality was growing, social conditions were worsening.

  • In the 12 years before President Clinton took office, unemployment averaged more than 7 percent and the national debt quadrupled. Since then the Clinton Administration has shrunk unemployment to a 29-year low and replaced record deficits with a surplus of $99 billion.

  • America has a responsibility to carry out its domestic priorities. The massive tax cut approved by the Congress would lead to deep, across-the-board cuts in domestic priorities. In order to pay for their risky tax cut and fund the military at the same level as the President, Republicans would have to cut more than $700 billion from domestic spending. In 2009, that would mean roughly a 50 percent cut in domestic programs across the board.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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