Housing secretary blasts GOP plan to cut budget
By Ted Barrett/CNN
August 26, 1999
Web posted at: 6:05 p.m. EDT (2205 GMT)
WASHINGTON -- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo Thursday blasted congressional Republican efforts to slash HUD's proposed year 2000 budget by $1.6 billion while pushing what he claimed was an "irresponsible" tax cut.
Cuomo said the Republican tax cut would aid the wealthy while cutting programs for the poor.
"Cuts that Congress is considering to HUD's budget would deprive 97,000 people of jobs, 156,000 families of affordable housing and 16,000 families and individuals who are homeless or who have AIDS of vital housing assistance," Cuomo said in a statement. "At a time of unprecedented national prosperity, Congress shouldn't rob the poorest Americans to provide reckless tax cuts and create a new deficit."
The House Appropriations Committee passed the proposed cuts to the HUD budget in July. The full House is expected to vote on the measure next month. Cuomo said he expects the Senate to pass similar cuts when it takes up the bill later this year.
President Bill Clinton submitted a budget that called for a $2 billion increase over HUD's $12.5 billion budget for 1999.
A report released by HUD on Thursday claimed the cuts will reach into dozens of programs. Under the plan, according to HUD:
- The Community Development Block Grant Program will lose $250 million and the Brownsfield Economic Development Program will face cuts of $5 million. As a result, HUD claims, 97,000 jobs will be lost.
- Rehabilitation of 28,000 housing units for low and moderate-income families will be scratched.
- Lead paint removal in 900 homes, housing 600 low-income children will also be canceled.
- An estimated 100,000 rental assistance vouchers will go unfunded under the GOP plan.
Cuomo said the strong national economy is actually making life more difficult for poor Americans. He said 5.3 million American families "need affordable housing. Why? Because the strong economy actually drives up rents and those people who are at the bottom of the income spectrum or on fixed incomes can't afford the rents."