By Secretary Shaun Donovan
The President has been clear that Republicans in Congress should work with Democrats to finish a budget that cuts wasteful spending while investing in jobs, the economy and middle class families. Until Congress reaches a budget agreement, the President will not sign individual appropriations bills that simply attempt to enact the House Republican budget into law which would hurt our economy and make draconian cuts to middle class priorities.
The House Republican HUD appropriations bill does just this and provides a clear example of the damage the House Republican's approach would cause. It would severely undermine HUD's efforts to serve families and communities that have been recovering from the recession. The bill would cut $3 billion from the President's request for core low-income rental assistance programs. This means 125,000 fewer housing vouchers for low-income families and short-funded contracts with private housing owners and public housing authorities. It proposes nearly $300 million less for Homeless Assistance Grants, affecting as many as 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless households, including many veterans. It provides 36 percent less funding than the President's Budget for housing counseling services, threatening to deny 750,000 people the help they need when trying to fight off foreclosures or address other issues. It also cuts funding for the Community Development Block Program nearly in half, to its lowest level since the program was founded nearly four decades ago, preventing many communities in distress from funding needed infrastructure repairs, public services, and affordable housing that will help their neighborhoods and economies heal.
Bottom line: the House Republican budget hurts families, our ongoing housing recovery and the health of our overall economy. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of those who have suffered the most. Instead, as President Obama has said, we need to build ladders of opportunity so that every person has a fair shot at lifting themselves into the middle class. In doing so, we will build a stronger America.