Senate Subcommittee members from both parties expressed their dismay and disappointment about the steep cuts proposed in the president’s budget.
In her opening statement, Senate Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed how the proposed cuts – which are deeper than the budget caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 – lack thoughtful consideration. “The funding levels proposed in this budget will place vulnerable families at risk of losing their assistance and of becoming homeless,” she said.
Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) shared similar concerns that the “drastic cuts will be devastating to communities across the nation.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, attended the hearing to communicate that “this budget, no matter how you look at it, is going to leave millions of low income Americans and Americans with disabilities out in the cold…. This budget is a travesty.”
Several House Subcommittee members similarly shared their opposition to the proposed cuts. Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA) said that the budget’s proposed rent reforms would result in dramatic rent burdens for many low -income Americans receiving rental assistance.
Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11) questioned how HUD would continue to serve the housing needs of people with disabilities with the proposed $25 million cut to its Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811) program.
Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.-11) joined his Subcommittee colleagues, including THUD Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.-25), in expressing concern about the cuts to HOME and CDBG, stating that these programs give power back to people to make decisions locally.
HUD Secretary Carson defended the Trump Administration’s budget request to the THUD Subcommittees. Responding to members’ questions and concerns, HUD Secretary Carson repeatedly reiterated his hopes that improved efficiency, public-private partnerships, and greater flexibility would help HUD meet its mission with reduced resources.
The secretary also spoke of the constraints placed on the agency’s budget by the “new paradigm” of fiscal responsibility, and that the new budget recognizes “a greater role for state and local government” in housing and community development. A number of Republican representatives said they saw opportunity in this effort to provide greater local flexibility through reduced regulation.
In his testimony to the Senate, Secretary Carson claimed that “we must look for human solutions, not just policies and programs,” and that “we are keenly focused on efficiency throughout the agency with the mindset of doing more with less.”
Click here to read our previous post abut the budget.
The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees will now begin work on appropriations bills as part of the congressional appropriations process.