Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing

Senator Jack Reed Cites Funding
Needed to Renew Vouchers

Julian CastroOn March 11, 2015, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) conducted a hearing on HUD’s FY16 budget request.

HUD Secretary Julián Castro was the only witness.

Secretary Castro said that the proposal includes funding that would effectively end chronic homelessness and would make significant strides in the work to end homelessness among families and youth.

“With Congress’ support through programs like HUD-VASH, we have seen dramatic reductions in homelessness among veterans. If our nation invests in the targeted programs we know work, we can make similar progress in tackling other forms of homelessness. Specifically, HUD’s Budget would fund Homeless Assistance Grants at $2.5 billion – a $345 million increase over last fiscal year’s level.”

Said Castro.

In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) said that HUD’s request is $4 billion more than its FY15 funding level, a request that ignores the current “broader context of the difficult fiscal environment…[that] includes the return of the ill-conceived and harmful sequestration. While the Ryan-Murray budget agreement enabled us to avoid sequestration in 2014 and 2015, we do not have that luxury when considering the fiscal year 2016 budget.”

Senator Collins hopes Congress can work with the Administration to “get rid of the sequester while living within our means.”

Subcommittee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) discussed the significant increase in funds needed merely to renew existing housing assistance, citing that the housing choice voucher program will require an additional $848 million to renew existing vouchers.

Senator Reed, who is also the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, has urged Congress to provide more for the Department of Defense than allowed by the Budget Control Act’s caps. At the THUD hearing, he said that increasing the spending caps for non-defense discretionary programs is also necessary.

Click here for the hearing webcast and documents.