The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing entitled “Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Rural Development Programs” on September 13.
Tammye Treviño, Administrator, Rural Housing Services (RHS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), testified in support of RHS programs and argued that they serve a similar, but distinct purpose from the rental assistance programs administered by HUD.
Representative Austin Scott (R-GA) asked Ms. Treviño if USDA supports a House Committee on Financial Services draft proposal that would move RHS programs to HUD. Ms. Treviño said that USDA opposes the proposal because housing services offered by RHS uniquely serve rural communities by working in “synergy” with other Rural Development programs. Further, according to Ms. Treviño, such a move would not result in cost-savings.
Mr. Scott said that he hopes that Ms. Treviño will continue to advocate on behalf of rural communities. He expressed concerns about the implications for rural communities should RHS programs move to HUD, given his view that decisions made by HUD often do not benefit rural communities and entities in his district.
Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA) said that there is an unprecedented affordable housing crisis in rural America, and expressed interest in putting together a working group in his congressional district to investigate how this crisis can be mitigated.
At a recent hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, NLIHC submitted comments in opposition to the draft proposal to move RHS programs into HUD (see previous issue of Memo).
All witness testimony and an archived hearing webcast are available at: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/hearingDetails.aspx?NewsID=1448