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Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. CHU. Mr. Chairman, I am in strong opposition of the underlying bill, as it makes damaging cuts to Community Development Block Grants. A cut of $1.6 billion--a nearly 50 percent reduction from the previous year--is not smart policymaking. These draconian cuts will no doubt have lasting harmful effects on our communities throughout the country.

Since 1974, over 1,200 communities relied on CDBG funds to support development projects and make other important improvements. These funds are used in providing social services for the poor and senior citizens, improving dilapidated housing facilities, supporting local food banks, and maintaining local parks. CDBG funds are critical investments made by the Federal Government to bring important benefits to local communities.

My district, for example, stands to lose almost $2.2 million next year if these cuts go into effect. That's nearly half of what they got last year. And it's on top of hundreds of thousands cities in my district have already lost due to the poorly designed automatic cuts known as sequestration. The city of Pasadena will see their funding drop from $1.7 million to under $1 million. The city of Alhambra will see their funding drop from around $800,000 down to only $430,000.

These cuts are more than lines on a piece of paper. They will have real impacts on my neighbors and my community. Take People for People, a food bank run by the West San Gabriel Valley Church Council for the last 25 years. People for People provides the homeless and needy families with clothes and boxes of food. During the recession, they saw a 20 percent spike in the numbers of families who came to them for help. Last year, they were able to support hundreds of families that are suffering right now. Hundreds of families stay afloat with local donations and a $27,000 grant through CDBG. But this year, because of Federal Government cuts, they will receive 75 percent less, merely $7,000.

But People for People isn't the only program that will get hit. Countless other nonprofit service organizations around the San Gabriel Valley will be forced to serve fewer low-income residents at a time when they need it the most. CDBG funds have helped fund tutoring, health services, small business assistance, senior services, food assistance, and fair housing services. Cities will have to cut back on home rehabilitation programs that improve blighted neighborhoods and public facilities, improvements that make cities safer and more accessible. And fewer construction projects mean fewer construction jobs, too.

During this time of economic recovery, we cannot pull out the rug from programs that are vital to helping our constituents. Our cities, our communities, and our constituents cannot afford these drastic cuts to CDBG funding. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this terrible bill.

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