The House Financial Services Committee approved its FY19 Budget Views and Estimates by a vote of 32 to 25 on March 6. This document is submitted to the House Budget Committee for consideration in preparing the FY19 budget resolution. While several Democratic representatives offered amendments that would increase funding for public housing, affordable housing creation and preservation, homelessness prevention, and community development programs, the Republican majority rejected many of them.
In her opening remarks, Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s FY19 budget proposal, calling it a “total abandonment of the effort to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for millions of children, families, seniors, and veterans.” She noted that the administration’s proposed cuts would completely eliminate the national Housing Trust Fund, the Capital Magnet Fund, and the HOME Investment Partnerships Programs.
The Committee adopted two amendments that would increase funding for capital repairs to public housing and strengthen the oversight of landlords participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program. Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) offered these amendments, noting the relationship between illness and poor living conditions in public housing and citing a number of questionable landlord practices occurring in her district. The Committee also adopted an amendment from Representative Al Green (D-TX) to ensure HUD quickly and efficiently disburses disaster recovery aid in order to prevent, in his words, “the disaster after the disaster.”
In response to recent reports about HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s questionable use of funds, Mr. Green also proposed an amendment calling for an investigation of the HUD procurement process. This amendment passed.
Republicans dismissed several amendments from Democrats that would restore or increase funding for important HUD programs that address homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. Ms. Waters proposed adding measures to better address homelessness and asked for a hearing on the issue. Representatives Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced amendments that would restore funding for programs zeroed out in Mr. Trump’s budget proposal, including the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and Community Development Block Grants. Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) rejected these and other amendments because they were not submitted prior to the hearing.
For more information on the vote, including the text of the Budget Views and Estimates and amendments, as well as the archived webcast, go to: http://bit.ly/2HgQFxL