Democrats on a House Appropriations Committee subpanel pressed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson Wednesday on his department’s proposal to slash funds for housing assistance.
HUD’s fiscal 2021 budget request asks for $48 billion, a cut of $8.6 billion or 15 percent compared to the current levels.
“This is woefully inadequate to the task at hand,” said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), chairman of the House Appropriations transportation subcommittee.
The cut comes at the expense of 43 percent of public housing funds while also eliminating programs such as the National Housing Trust Fund, Home Investment Partnerships, Community Development Block Grant and Choice Neighborhoods.
Though Price said there are a “handful of bright spots” in the “overwhelmingly grim picture” HUD’s new budget presents, “modest investments are more than offset by the draconian cuts and unrealistic program eliminations.”
That White House has previously said budget cuts are an effort to reduce the deficit, which has hit $1 trillion since Trump was elected.
In his opening statement, Carson said HUD’s budget proposal “ensures that the people HUD serves continue to receive rental assistance” while recognizing that “difficult budget choices need to be made to prevent future generations from inheriting a mountain of debt.”
Carson acknowledged the programs on the chopping block have proven successful and suggested that states do more to pick up the tab.
“It’s very difficult to get the concept across that I like those programs, I think we like those programs,” Carson said. “Can we afford them when we continue to create the kind of debt that we’re going to pass on to the next generation and ruin their lives?"
“I think those programs should be funded by the state, not necessarily by the federal government.”
Panel ranking member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) pointed out that the Trump administration’s proposed budget stands little chance in the Democratic-controlled House.
“I’m pretty certain I know what the House and this committee will do with those recommendations,” Diaz-Balart said.
“However, Mr. Secretary, your track record shows that when we exercise the power of the purse here in Congress, you prove to be a trusted partner in executing those programs to the benefits of our constituents,” he added.
Original story here.