Remarks by Secretary Andrew Cuomo
HUD Budget Celebration
Wednesday, October 25, 2000
It is amazing when you think about how far we have
come in four years.� What a difference four years can make.
When you think about where we were four years ago,
they� were literally talking about eliminating the department.�� There was real
talk about that.
When it was at that point, that was really a failure
and a loss for all of us Democrats and� Republicans alike, it doesn't matter.
Because the bottom-line is that we are in this field to go do good things, to
do housing, to do urban development.�
And when you have to concede that the best we can
do is eliminate the department, which is the vehicle to do good, what you're
really saying is that we all failed. That government failed.� That the entire
enterprise failed.� And that was a defeat for all of us.�
So four years later, when we celebrate being back
in business, the best budget in 20 years, that's a victory for all of us.�
This worked because, first of all, the groups who
honor us tonight worked. The home builders worked, the U.S. Conference of Mayors
worked, the realtors worked, the housing advocates worked, and they put their
differences aside, and they pitched in together.
They forgot that they were for a specific program
-- CDBG versus Section 8 versus public housing -- and everybody pulled together.
The Congress pulled together.� Senator Mikulski,
-- thank God for what you did for the HUD budget.� You have been amazing.
She made it happen. It's never easy with HUD.�
It is never easy.� It really isn't.� There is not a big political engine behind
it, there's not a lot of reward or accolades behind it. There's never enough
money, there are always issues, there are always problems. And when you get
a champion for HUD, it's someone who truly just believes in the mission.� And
Senator Mikulski has done that.
Barney Frank has been great for us. Senator Sarbanes
has been great. And it does take both sides of the aisle. Jim Walsh did� a great
job. Jerry Lewis before him did a great job on the House side.
And I want to thank the HUD team, many of whom
are here today, present and past. They never, never, never stopped pitching.�
They never stopped fighting. It's always easy to give up, and just say "Okay,
that's the best I could do." And they stayed in, every inning, and they
delivered a great budget.
Now, the reason I say it's not over is because
we've only just begun. We've only just begun.� We're just starting.� We made
great progress, because we were starting at zero and we went to� 50,000, to
60,000,� and this year to 80,000, the best budget in 20 years.
But we have so much further to go.
5.4 million families need affordable housing. The
home ownership rate is at its highest in history, but it's not as high as it
can be. So we have more to do on the homeownership side, more to do on the affordable
Lord knows we have more to do on the homeless side
-- there's so much more to do there.
There's more to do on the predatory lending side,
there's more to do on the discrimination side, fair housing, because discrimination
is still alive and well in this nation.
And now, in some ways, we're just coming up to
our strongest game, because now we have the strongest economy in history.
We're talking about a surplus and not a deficit.�
You have a department that works. We don't have to have that same argument about
whether or not we're helping or hurting. The department works, and it works
in a bipartisan way.�
You put the functional department together with
the best economy, together with the surplus, together with this Congressional
team, together with these interest groups all working together, and there is
no stopping this.
Thank you very much.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009