On September 14, 2012, the Obama administration submitted a report to Congress on the impact sequestration would have on federal programs. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) requires the administration to sequester funds, which means making across-the-board cuts from discretionary funding to achieve a $1.2 trillion reduction in the deficit over a 10-year period. Sequestration is scheduled to begin in 2013. The delay in releasing the report, according to the administration, was due to the complexities of implementing sequestration.
The impact includes:
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 100,000 households housed through Homeless Assistance Grants would no longer have homes – including 1,500 veterans and their families.
The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) estimated that over two million people would be negatively impacted by sequestration of HUD programs, based on the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ (CBPP) 8.4% estimate for sequestration cuts.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates that most HUD and USDA Rural Housing Service programs would be cut by 8.2%, but estimates that a higher number of households would potentially be impacted by these cuts than does CBPP.
HUD estimates that more than 250,000 households would lose their vouchers, leaving nearly one million people who are currently stably housed without assistance and at risk of homelessness.
“The OMB report is conclusive proof that sequestration will rob low income people of already scarce housing resources at a time when our economy and communities can least afford to lose them. We urge Members of Congress to work together to instead seek a balanced solution that will raise revenue and protect the most vulnerable Americans.”
The Administration and advocates continue to urge Congress to avoid sequestration. Advocates are urging Members of Congress to craft a deficit reduction plan that includes a balanced approach to spending and revenue in order to protect low-income households served by government-funded programs. The Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) is circulating a sign-on letter urging the protection of low income and vulnerable people. The letter currently has over 1,200 organizational signers.
Some in Congress support a sequestration alternative that would protect defense spending at the expense of spending on housing and other social supports.
On September 10, 2012, Representative Allen West (R-FL) introduced a bill to eliminate the sequester and replace it with an unbalanced alternative. H.R, 6365, the National Security and Job Protection Act, would lessen the cuts to defense spending while deepening those to non-defense discretionary spending.