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Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Chairman, I don't get it. I am just reading section 306 as being stricken now, and it says, this is a direct quote, blah, blah, blah, ``for the period that such household is eligible for such voucher assistance.'' Once the household is no longer eligible, the voucher disappears. What is permanent about that? Subsection 3 says, ``Such vouchers shall not be taken into consideration for purposes of determining any future allocation of amounts to such tenant-based rental assistance for any public housing agency.'' What is permanent about that?

Now I don't know, if you just don't like the section 8 program, I respect that. That is a respectful and honest difference of opinion on how to help people have a home, have a roof above their head. But let's just try to get rid of the entire section 8 program. Let's not just pick on the people that got hurt the most in this entire country and have been shafted from the day of the hurricane until now.

I haven't looked at the numbers, but your own numbers a few minutes ago where there were 8,000 before the hurricane and now there are 12,000, maybe I missed something. That is not as big an increase as I would have suspected would happen if there was such a big sham going on.

And by the way, if it is all about a sham, you have got to give these people in New Orleans credit. They had a house, they were poor, they qualified for a Federal program that has been around for years, and they somehow mysteriously worked it so that their houses would be destroyed so they could stay on this program. Their houses and their jobs, by the way; that is why you have 12,000 people eligible because they have no jobs. The economy hasn't come back. When they get their jobs back and the economy comes back, they will no longer be eligible and they will be off the rolls and we will be back to 8,000. This is not a permanent program.

Again, if you just don't like the section 8 program, I respect that. We will have a legitimate difference of opinion on that; that's above the board. I understand that that is a philosophical view that I don't share, but I respect it. But you can't just go and take the people in this country that got hurt the worst, for no cause of their own, and somehow think they are trying to scam the system because they happen to live in the path of the worst hurricane this country has seen in my lifetime.

You can't pretend that this is a permanent program when the language itself says it is temporary. As long as these people are eligible, they would have a section 8 certificate. If they get their jobs back and the economy comes back and they make enough money to no longer be eligible, they will be off the rolls, we will be back to the 8,000. And then maybe we will have the discussion we should be having, which I would disagree with then, but it is an honest one; we just get rid of the section 8 program altogether and that is the end of it.

In the meantime, quit trying to pick on the people that got hurt the most in this country, no cause of their own, no fault of their own. I can't imagine anybody down there, any little old lady is sitting there trying to figure out how to scam the system so they can rebuild the house that shouldn't be rebuilt, so they don't have a job. If that is happening, find me the three people that are doing that, and I will agree with you and we will get them off the rolls.

Other than that, let's get on with fixing New Orleans so we can get back on track for this country and for this world.


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