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Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I will not object to the unanimous consent request. It will forestall a 15-minute vote and make it a 2-minute vote. And I appreciate the cooperative spirit from the gentleman of Michigan on this as throughout he has been cooperative. I understand other decisions get made, but I did just ask the indulgence of the House because people shouldn't be voting on something with no explanation.

There was implemented in 1998 in legislation, and I think it was part of an appropriations bill then, a requirement that everybody who lives in public housing who is not otherwise fully employed work 8 hours a month in community service. It is not highly regarded by the people who run public housing. It costs money to do this. Understand, when a similar amendment was proposed for the section 8 vouchers, it was defeated, it authorized the Housing Authority to hire someone to administer it. This is not work that is terribly useful.

The way the amendment is written, if you were working, and you are fired or your job ends because of trade or other problems as some people in public housing and you are unemployed, you then have to do 8 hours a month of make-work. So it is a make-work requirement does nobody any good, it is based on the assumption that you can't trust those lazy people in public housing across the board, and it costs money to administer. So that is why the gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel), who has long been a proponent of it, and myself have offered this amendment.

I thank the gentleman for a chance to explain it.

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