Create Your Own Fireworks in Congress! Use this link to send a letter to Congress.
This Federal Update is taken from NAHRO Direct News Washington Update dated July 3, 2013
The regular appropriations process is progressing quickly in Congress. In June, both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees approved their FY 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bills. The Senate approved a total of $54 billion in spending for THUD programs, while the House’s bill contained only $44 billion. Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) has a tough fight ahead of her to preserve this higher level of funding for FY 2014- contact your Senators today to urge them to support Chairwoman’s Mikulski’s funding level for THUD.
The difference in funding levels between the two bills for critical housing and community development programs is stark. The House bill proposes a $1.4 billion cut to CDBG, reducing this vital program to its lowest level ever of $1.6 billion. The HOME program would also be reduced to its lowest funding level ever of $700 million. The House proposes a rescission of $120 million to the Choice Neighborhoods program, despite the fact that the program was only funded at $114 million in FY13. Additionally, the House decreases funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund and provides marginal increases for the Public Housing Operating Fund, Section 8 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewals, and Administrative Fees. However, the Senate bill takes the first critical step toward restoring funding after years of steep budget cuts: it funds CDBG at $3.15 billion, HOME at $1 billion, Choice Neighborhoods at $120 million, and increases funding for the Public Housing Operating and Capital Funds, Section 8 HAP Renewals, Administrative Fees and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance.
The difference between the House and Senate THUD funding levels reflects a larger disagreement over the topline spending level for the fiscal year. The Senate has proposed an overall spending level for FY 2014 of $1.053 trillion, but the House level is only $967 billion- a $91 billion gap. The House budget includes the painful cuts required by sequestration, but appropriators have provided additional funding for military and defense programs, placing the burden of the sequestration cuts on programs that help the most vulnerable populations in America. The Senate budget assumes that a deal will be reached to replace sequestration with more targeted spending cuts. If the appropriations process is to move forward, the House and the Senate will need to agree on an overall topline funding level.
We need your help to support the highest funding level for housing and community development programs. If the Senate and the House do not agree on a topline funding level, we could face another year of an anemic continuing resolution. If the House level is adopted, the housing and community development programs you rely upon will face dramatic cuts. Your voice is critical to preventing this from happening. We need you to tell your Senators why these programs are crucial to their state and to support the Senate’s THUD bill.
We have created a letter for you to send to your Senators in our online advocacy center at www.nahro.org/nahro-advocacy. Please feel free to include your own local examples. We need a groundswell of local constituent support for responsible decision-making to better fund many of the HCD programs you administer.