The House Committee on Financial Services approved its oversight plan during a mark-up on January 22. Regarding housing, the plan states, “The Committee will conduct oversight of the mission, operations, and budgets of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Rural Housing Service (RHS), and the [Neighorhood] Reinvestment Corporation. The Committee will review current HUD and RHS programs with the goal of identifying inefficient and duplicative programs for potential elimination or streamlining.”
During the markup, Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said, “We will do everything within our power to make sure the agencies under our jurisdiction treat the funds they are appropriated, the funds they have at their disposal, taxpayer funds – that they treat them with respect….No one in Washington – Republican or Democrat – should ever be allowed to carelessly spend the hard-earned taxpayers’ money. And that is why this committee will continually and vigilantly monitor every agency and every program under our jurisdiction.”
Ranking Member Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) opening remarks directly addressed the Committee’s lack of attention to low income housing needs. She said, “Last Congress, this Committee held one single hearing on public and assisted housing – sending a clear message regarding the majority’s lack of interest in the housing needs of poor, elderly, and disabled Americans. That track record is shameful – especially given the devastating sequester cuts that crippled important programs that help low and moderate income families. And Republicans continue to block important housing bills, including those that would protect tenants from foreclosure, preserve homeownership, and increase access to credit for credit-worthy borrowers.”
Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) expressed hope that the Committee will spend much of its time responding to the needs of people who are struggling to make ends meet, and that it was the responsibility of the Committee to improve the living conditions of the poor. He pointed out that eleven million families pay more than half of their income for rent, and that only one in four families who qualify for housing assistance actually receives it.
The oversight plan is at http://financialservices.house.gov/UploadedFiles/114thCongressOvPlan.pdf
The hearing and other material from the markup are at http://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=398614