WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) joined leaders and members of NDD United at a rally on Capitol Hill to present Congressional leaders a letter signed by more than 2,500 national, state and local organizations calling on Congress to raise the spending caps and end sequestration’s devastating impact on the nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs. The letter was presented to Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) who were present at the rally and spoke to the media about the importance of lifting the sequester spending caps.
The letter, signed by more than 630 affordable housing and community development groups (the most of any sector), calls on Congress to replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that takes into account the deep cuts that nondefense discretionary programs have already incurred since the Budget Control Act of 2011 put sequestration into effect.
NDD United is an alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans. Nondefense discretionary programs include veterans affairs, medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations.
“There is bipartisan agreement that sequestration is bad policy and ultimately hurts our nation,” the letter states. Signers of the NDD United letter point out that cuts to vital programs have significantly impacted almost every major sector in America. While endeavoring to reduce the deficit, lawmakers have dramatically and disproportionately cut funding for nondefense discretionary programs, although experts across the political spectrum agree these programs are not a driving factor behind America’s mid- and long-term fiscal challenges.
“NLIHC is proud to sign on to this letter calling on Congress to end sequestration,” stated Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which represents the affordable housing sector with NDD United. “Sequestration will continue to wreak havoc on programs that provide affordable housing for low income households in America.”
A budget deal reached in 2013 by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) suspended sequestration for two years. “With sequestration relief expiring in fiscal year 2016 and appropriations bills now being written to the sequestered spending caps, we are seeing the difficult tradeoffs necessitated by woefully inadequate and historically low levels of spending after years of deficit reduction,” the NDD letter states. The letter notes that current nondiscretionary funding is “the lowest level on record dating back to the Eisenhower administration, relative to the size of the economy.”
The letter references NDD United’s comprehensive, sector-by-sector report detailing the impacts of the budget cuts titled: Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Make Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure.
The Letter to Congress from 2,500 Organizations Seeking Sequestration Relief is available here: http://bit.ly/1O2yDjm
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes