It is with a deep sense of disappointment that I join Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dick Gephardt, House Minority Leader, and my colleagues in spotlighting the basic unfairness that underlies the Republican leadership's decision to cut much-needed housing assistance for low-income Americans. In effect, the Republicans are slashing housing programs that assist the homeless, the working poor, and persons with AIDS. And they are decimating community development programs that revitalize impoverished neighborhoods and produce new affordable housing.
Compared to HUD's request, the GOP proposal carves away nearly $2 billion, including cuts to Section 8, public housing, Community Development Block Grants, HOME, fair-housing counseling, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS. It ruthlessly rejects many innovative HUD initiatives, such as America's Private Investment Companies. Service levels for most HUD programs will be cut to the bone. The Republican measure produces 156,000 fewer affordable housing units and 97,000 fewer jobs. Some 16,000 homeless families and persons with AIDS will not get vital housing and related services. In my Congressional District alone, the current bill will cut $6.1 million, 494 jobs, 497 housing units for low-income families, and provide services to 400 fewer homeless individuals and persons with AIDS.
In effect, Republicans are willing to cut housing to the poor, even as they passed, on a party line vote, a tax bill to help the wealthy and special interests. If Republicans think we can afford a $792 billion giveaway in elaborate tax breaks, loopholes, and corporate welfare, then why do they refuse to support simple shelter for the poor? Good question, and I trust the voters are listening and will provide their answers soon.
In conclusion, I want to commend again both HUD Secretary Cuomo and Minority Leader Gephardt for leading the fight for fairness.
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