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Public Statements

Section 8 Voucher Reform Act Of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


SECTION 8 VOUCHER REFORM ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - July 12, 2007)

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(Mr. PASCRELL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, I'm honored to rise in support of H.R. 1851. I commend Chairman Frank and Chairwoman Waters for bringing this worthy legislation to the floor today.

This bipartisan bill will increase efficiency in our section 8 housing voucher program and expand rental assistance opportunities, authorizing 20,000 new section 8 vouchers in each of the next 5 years, with a total of 100,000 new vouchers.

Section 8 rental assistance is a critical and widely used program, with approximately 2 million vouchers being distributed by more than 2,500 local public housing authorities.

I would like to draw attention to one specific provision of this legislation which will have widespread benefits, if we did nothing else today, and I think is the most meaningful thing we're doing today, by the way, if I may express my opinion, will have widespread benefits for housing authorities throughout this Nation, including those in my district.

In 2004, a new formula was instituted to fund public housing authorities that administer the section 8 program. The formula was based on a snapshot of PHA activity for May, June, and July of 2004. As a result, whatever a housing authority's needs were during that short period, they have been stuck with that number ever since. It is simply irrational to fund a program today based on what its needs were 3 years ago.

Some housing authorities were continually overfunded, some were underfunded. This provision left some housing authorities scrambling for funds and others with extra funding they couldn't access.

The bill we are considering today fixes this inefficient and outdated formula, requiring HUD to use data from the most recent 12 months to determine section 8 voucher funding. It's going to help a lot of people, a lot of people. Now funding will be guaranteed for all vouchers in use.

Even this administration has admitted that this flawed formula should be revised. I applaud the Financial Services Committee for including a fix in this legislation.

I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 1851.

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