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Public Statements

Further Continuing Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2007

Location: Washington, DC



Mrs. BIGGERT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I support provisions in this resolution that provide funding for roads and transit, Pell Grants, Special Education, NCLB, veterans' healthcare and scientific research at places like NIH and Argonne National Laboratory.

However, I do not support a provision in this bill that will slash housing assistance for hundreds of families and seniors in my district and for thousands more nationwide.

It is unfortunate that the leadership and appropriators on the other side of the aisle decided that it was OK to completely rewrite the funding formula for the disbursement of Section 8 housing funds in this bill without consulting with the authorizing committee, Financial Services. The last time I checked, authorizing on an appropriations bill is against the House rules. But of course, the rule for this bill denies us any opportunity to raise a point of order, or amend the bill. At least during previous Republican-led Congresses, our leadership had the courtesy to allow Democrats to offer amendments and points of order and followed rules that reflect a truly democratic process.

Now, I must point out that the other side of the aisle still has a chance to do this the right way. As the new Ranking Member of the Financial Services Housing Subcommittee, I am perfectly happy to work with the majority to craft a comprehensive, bipartisan Section 8 reform package that will provide stability and predictability for our public housing authorities and those whom they serve.

My constituents are not well served by this abrupt and drastic change in the formula, and I would warn my colleagues from Illinois to look closely at the new numbers for their districts.

The Chicago suburbs are hit hard by this new formula. Each housing authority in all three counties of my Congressional district will receive a funding cut this year. The housing authority in Cook County will lose $8 million, Joliet will lose $1.1 million, Aurora and DuPage County will lose over a million dollars.

These are not just dollars; these are families and seniors who are being hurt here. With this bill's proposed cuts to Section 8 housing funding, more than 100 families in DuPage County, about 150 in Will County, and thousands across the country will be kicked to the curb in 2007. This is unacceptable.

I am disappointed by the thoughtlessness of those on the other side of the aisle who determined the new formula and numbers in this bill. I urge my colleagues to alert their constituents who will become homeless this year about this fly-by-night formula change that our dear colleagues have brought to the floor today. I invite the Democratic leadership to explain to the neediest citizens in the suburbs of Chicago and in communities across our Nation why they won't have a roof over their heads in 2007. This is no way to start the New Year.


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