The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation and Housing and Urban Development held a FY19 budget hearing on April 18. HUD Secretary Ben Carson testified, defending his proposal to slash his department’s funding levels. Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) noted early in the hearing that the president’s budget “includes several proposals that were rejected as part of the FY 2018 deliberations, and I anticipate that many of those same program eliminations will once again be rejected.” Other members of the committee, including Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), echoed that sentiment, noting the importance in his home state of programs like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which the administration proposes eliminating.
Dr. Carson agreed with senators about the importance of HUD programs, but continually referred to the growing national debt as the reason for the cuts. The majority of the committee expressed disagreement with the secretary’s argument. While Senator Collins expressed support for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which HUD proposes to use as an alternative to rehabbing public housing, she noted that the FY19 budget proposal does not provide sufficient funding even to keep the program functioning at its current level, let alone expand it. On a separate matter, the secretary indicated he has openly proposed reforms to the Financial Self-Sufficiency program passed in the House of Representatives in January (see Memo 1/22).
Dr. Carson also assured senators that HUD is working as quickly as possible on disaster recovery in the areas impacted by the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires.
Learn more about the hearing at: https://bit.ly/2JRHoOG