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Public Statements

Asset Management Improvement Act of 2008

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Location: Washington, DC


ASSET MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 09, 2008)

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Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 6216, the Asset Management Improvement Act, authored by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Sires). There is general agreement that we need to work with our public housing authorities to improve and refine their asset management policies. The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, which was passed by Congress in 1998, included a requirement for a negotiated rulemaking to develop a new public housing operating fund formula.

Rulemaking concluded in 2004, after a 3-year, $4 million Operating Cost Study was conducted, and in 2005, HUD issued the Public Housing Operating Fund Final Rule. HUD has agreed to delay the implementation, in an effort to give PHAs additional time to comply with the negotiated rule. This legislation will make further changes to that rule. It is my hope that all parties can continue to work together to make further improvements.

The base text of the legislation requires HUD and public housing agencies to negotiate, after April 1, 2009, reasonable property and asset management fees with interested stakeholders. The fees would then be implemented January 1, 2011.

The legislation increases, as the chairman said, the number of units public housing agencies can manage to 500, from 250, before they are required to manage their housing portfolios by the new asset management system. It also states that the bill's provisions, including those relating to public housing asset management, do not affect in any way current law regarding tenant participation and tenant opportunities in public housing.

As the chairman noted, we have been here before considering similar legislation. Unfortunately, that legislation was pulled from consideration during the motion to recommit that would have preserved the right of law-abiding citizens to own a firearm. I am pleased the authors of this new version included this important provision.

In addition, the authors have included the text of the manager's amendment, as well as the Meek amendment, in this new draft. The manager's amendment included language blocking illegal immigrants from eligibility and ensuring that certain agencies that apply to HUD for stop-loss do not have their applications rejected on the basis that the management and related fees they establish pursuant to the bill's provisions are not reasonable as defined by HUD. The Meek amendment provides that the tenant organization protections set forth in HUD's regulations apply to public housing agencies that are placed in receivership by HUD.

I would like to thank Mr. Sires for offering this legislation.

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Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New Jersey and certainly support his bill, but I think it is appropriate when talking about trying to stretch our public housing dollars as much as we can to provide housing and safety and cover and a sense of community to many families, I think it brings to light what many families are thinking about right now, and that is the high price of gasoline, how are they getting to where they need to go, to get to a job, to pick up their children at school, to go to church, to go to the grocery store, all the things of daily living.

Many of our public housing situations don't have access to bus routes or any kind of mass transportation, so I think it is incumbent upon this Congress to address this very difficult issue, and I have put forward, as have many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, ways to address this, whether it is more drilling, whether it is coal-to-liquid, whether it is more renewables. But it is certainly not standing still. And as we try to move our dollars into the public housing arena to provide shelter and homes for many, many Americans across this country, I think it is important at the same time when people are figuring out how they are going to pay their rent, they realize how are they going to pay for their gas, how are they going to pay for their food.

So I would encourage as we look at housing issues today, we also look at the very important issue of energy in our homes and with our families.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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