The House Appropriations Committee approved on Wednesday the fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill on a partisan vote of 28-21.
The legislation includes funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies.
The bill reflects an allocation of $52 billion in discretionary spending – an increase of $1.2 billion above the FY 2014 enacted level and a decrease of $7.8 billion below the President’s budget request.
However, given the reduction in offsets caused by a decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts, the program level within the bill is more accurately $1.8 billion below the current level.
Within the legislation, supporters of the budget say that the bill’s funds are targeted toward housing programs of national need.
“This bill focuses funding on the infrastructure that grows the American economy and on the housing options that protect our most vulnerable citizens. These investments are important to our economic growth, important to the safety of our citizens, and important to those people who might worry about whether or not they will have a roof over their heads tomorrow,” Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said. “But, we also must be mindful of the spending of each tax dollar – this bill strikes a fine balance between fiscal restraint and careful investment in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and economic well-being.”
U.S. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, added, “My priorities in this process were to act in a bipartisan fashion to fund our most vital programs with our critical need to reduce the deficit. This is a sound, commonsense bill that meets our highest transportation and housing priorities in a fiscally responsible way. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move this important legislation forward in an open legislative process.”
Democrats criticized the funding bill, saying it slashes HUD funding, with minorities, women hardest hit.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said that the measure cuts HUD’s Public Housing Program below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, while funding HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund to its lowest level since the 1980s.
“Unfortunately, the Republican measure approved by the Appropriations Committee today makes clear that federal programs that help families, seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities age in place, live with dignity, and provide for themselves have no place on the Republican agenda,” Waters said. “This measure ignores the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recent report on the rising number of very low-income families who are paying more than half of their monthly income on rent and living in severely substandard housing. It abandons those in our country who need our support the most. And I believe it is unacceptable.”
Click here to read the full text of the bill.