TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 29, 2005)
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Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Chairman, for the last 2 years, the President's budget requests have failed to meet the housing needs of lndian Country. Native Americans continue to suffer from severe overcrowding in their homes and they have higher rates of homes with serious physical deficiencies than their counterparts. Some estimates indicate that Indian housing needs exceed $1 billion.
The President's FY 2006 funding request for the Native American Housing Block Grant (NAHBG) is $582.6 million, a decrease of $40 million from the FY 2005 enacted level of $622 million. But the real reduction to the NAHBG is even more drastic because the budget request calls for the $57.8 million in Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) funding to come out of the NAHBG account, resulting in funding for the NAHBG to be a mere $524.8 million. This is a reduction over a 3-fiscal year period of more than $125 million. This erosion of Federal funding for Indian housing and community development is simply unacceptable.
I appreciate the work of the gentleman from Michigan who was working within very tight allocations. The Committee increased the funding for NAHBG to $600 million, a $17.4 million increase above the President's request. However, its support of the President's proposal calling for $45 million in ICDBG funds to come out of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) account, would leave a total proposed allocation for NAHBG at a mere $555 million. Appropriated funding for the NAHBG reached a high point in FY 2004 when it was funded at $650 million.
I do not support the President's proposal to remove the ICDBG line item from the CDBG account. The ICDBG program has traditionally been furlded by the CDBG account through a 1 percent set-aside. As I just indicated, a change to this current funding scheme would further reduce NAHBG funding.
We have a moral responsibility to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for our country's First Americans. Housing is the backbone of economic and community development. It creates jobs and drives tribal economies. It is a basic need that can strengthen progress in other areas like education and health care.
I look forward to working with both sides of the aisle on restoring the funding of the NAHBG account to the FY 2005 enacted level and addressing my concerns regarding the ICDBG program as the FY 2006 Transportation, Treasury, HUD, Judiciary and District of Columbia appropriations bill proceeds through the legislative process.
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