On February 13, the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) discussed the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) during is consideration of its “Views and Estimates” on President Barack Obama’s FY16 budget request. The “Views and Estimates,” a paper that spells out the Committee’s views on programs under its jurisdiction, criticized the NHTF for being similar to the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and other HUD programs. “The Committee rejects the need to create a duplicative federal bureaucracy to administer essentially the same program that could be achieved with several of the existing 160 housing programs identified by the (Government Accountability Office),” the paper states.
Representative Daniel Kildee (D-MI) proposed an amendment to strike this language and replace it with a description of the differences between the NHTF, HOME and CDBG and of the NHTF’s unique role in addressing the affordable housing needs of extremely low income people. “HOME and CDBG tend to overlook the affordable housing needs of extremely low income households. The NHTF fills this important void in the government’s overall housing assistance strategy,” Representative Kildee stated.
Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) countered that “(the NHTF’s) true purpose may be to be another ACORN-like slush fund.” Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) defended the NHTF and expressed her support for the amendment. “When you talk about creative and new ways to address the lack of rental units, this is one of them,” she said. Ms. Waters called Mr. Hensarling’s characterization of the NHTF as another ACORN-like slush fund “unbelievable.”
The Committee voted to defeat Representative Kildee’s amendment on a party line vote of 32 to 22. The vote on “Views and Estimates” was also partisan (see article).
Access the “Views and Estimates,” as well as the mark-up materials, http://financialservices.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=398673