|HUD No. 00-141|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||11 a.m. Tuesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||June 20, 2000|
CUOMO, GEPHARDT AND OTHER CONGRESS MEMBERS CRITICIZE PROPOSALS TO HALT HUDS GUN SAFETY EFFORTS AND REDUCE BUDGET REQUEST
WASHINGTON Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt and other Members of Congress today denounced efforts in Congress to halt HUD initiatives to reduce gun violence, along with efforts to reduce President Clintons Fiscal Year 2001 budget request for HUD by $2.5 billion.
Representatives David E. Bonior of Michigan, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Carolyn McCarthy of New York, Rosa L. DeLauro of Connecticut, Carrie Meek of Florida, Jerrold Nadler of New York and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois joined Cuomo and Gephardt at a Capitol news conference.
Cuomo and the Members of Congress noted that amendments proposed to the appropriations bill for HUDs Fiscal Year 2001 budget would deny HUD any funds to administer the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition, and would also prevent the Department from enforcing, implementing or administering the provisions of the landmark gun safety agreement that Cuomo and other government officials signed with Smith & Wesson on March 17.
"HUDs efforts to reduce gun violence are saving lives, and our programs to create affordable housing and revitalize communities are bringing new opportunity to people and places left behind," Cuomo said. "If HUD is prevented from carrying out these important initiatives, families and neighborhoods around the nation will suffer."
"The VA-HUD Appropriations bill that the Republicans have brought to the floor of the House drastically cuts funding from some the most successful community development and affordable housing initiatives taking place around the country," Gephardt said. "These Republican cuts move America in exactly the wrong direction."
Spearheaded by HUD, the Communities for Safer Guns Coalition has grown to more than 400 communities across the country since it was launched three months ago. Officials in the coalition sign a pledge saying they support giving favorable consideration to making purchases from gun manufacturers who have adopted a set of new gun safety and dealer responsibility standards. The preference applies to comparable weapons available at a comparable price that meet law enforcement agency needs.
Smith & Wesson, the countrys largest handgun maker, became the first and so far only company to adopt new gun safety standards in the agreement with the Clinton Administration and state and local officials. The standards require major changes in the design, distribution and marketing of guns to make them safer and to help keep them out of the hands of children and criminals.
"Secretary Cuomo and a number of the nations mayors successfully negotiated an agreement with gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson in March," said McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son seriously wounded by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road. "This agreement has been embraced by more than 411 communities across the nation from Los Angeles to Long Island, New York. The agreement is making our communities safer and we should allow it to continue without congressional tampering."
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies cut $2.5 billion last month from HUDs Fiscal Year 2001 budget request, significantly reducing spending that President Clinton requested for HUD programs.
The President offered the Congress a challenge
and an opportunity, Cuomo said, but the House Appropriations Committee failed to accept it. The Committee eliminated 120,000 new rental assistance vouchers from HUDs new proposed budget. It also cut $400 million from Community Development Block Grants, $37 million for the Americas Private Investment Companies Act, $30 million for the Community Gun Safety and Violence Reduction Initiative, $20 million for faith-based and community groups, $180 million for homeless assistance programs, and $69 million for elderly housing.