Poised To Cut HUD Programs
Eugene T. Lowe
After passing a budget resolution that assumes deep cuts in HUD programs brought about by the domestic spending cap enacted in the 1997 balanced budget act, Congress has moved one step closer to making those cuts a reality by allocating to the House VA, HUD and Independent Agencies $5.8 billion less for FY2000 than was allocated for FY1999. The senates reduction to its VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Subcommittee is even more severe _$10.1 billion. The subcommittees of both houses have jurisdiction over veterans, housing and community development, environment and space. In short, neither the house nor the senate subcommittee can fund the programs in their jurisdictions at last years levels.
Because of its allocation reduction, the house is not planning to take up the FY2000 appropriations bill until the fall, following the summer congressional recess. In past years, the house has marked up the HUD bill in mid-June. The subcommittee is looking for Congress and the White House to lift the spending cap by the fall. Congressional staff in the house say that if the subcommittee marked up now, it would likely adhere to the the budget resolution which singles out the Community Development Block Grant for a $1.4 billion cut. HOME would also probably receive a deep cut, as would other HUD programs. The only HUD program that would be spared would be Section 8 renewals. Veteran programs would not only be spared, but are likely to be increased, which would bring about deeper cuts in HUD programs.
The senate which has a greater reduction in its allocation than the house is expected to mark up its HUD bill in mid-June. Congressional staff say that the senate subcommittee expects the spending cap to be lifted by its tentatively scheduled mark up date.
Mayors are encouraged to write and call their congressional delegations as well as the administration and urge them to fund CDBG at $5 billion, HOME at $1.8 billion and other HUD programs at no less than current funding levels.