House Subcommittee Approves HUD Appropriations Bill
Last Thursday, June 20, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development marked up the Appropriations Bill for the fiscal year (FY) 2009. In total, the bill allocates $108.3 billion for transportation and housing programs, including:
The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill either later this week or shortly after July 4. The Senate Subcommittee is scheduled to consider its version of the bill on July 10.
House Approves Supportive Housing Vouchers for Louisiana
On Thursday, June 18, the House passed a bill that would provide $73 million for permanent supportive housing vouchers in Louisiana. The allocation was part of an emergency supplemental bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and pressing domestic needs. The vouchers will be targeted to people with extremely low incomes, the elderly, and people with disabilities who were left homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Since the August 2005 disaster, the homeless population in New Orleans has doubled to an estimated 12,000 people, with many living in abandoned buildings and tent cities. The $73 million will fund 3,000 units of permanent supportive housing. The supplemental measure is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President soon.
Supplemental Measure Includes Moratorium on Medicaid Cuts
The emergency supplemental spending measure that funded permanent supportive housing in Louisiana also put a hold on the Administration's plans to modify Targeted Case Management, the Rehabilitation Option, and other Medicaid provisions. The hold would last until April 2009, and will prevent the Administration from implementing proposals that would have cut services for people with disabilities and reduced provider reimbursements.
House Subcommittee Approves Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Spending
The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved a spending measure on June 19. Most details of the measure will not be known until later this week, but the Subcommittee did approve increases for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Health Centers Programs, which fund Health Care for the Homeless programs.
Senate Continues Debate on Housing Bill with National Housing Trust Fund
Last week, the Senate continued working on a massive housing bill that would create a National Housing Trust Fund, provide resources to reduce foreclosures, and reform oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While the Bush Administration has threatened to veto the measure, the bill has broad bipartisan support that could override a veto. Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) proposed an amendment that would have made contributions to the Trust Fund voluntary, dramatically weakening its impact. The amendment was defeated by an overwhelming 77-11 vote. Work will continue on the bill this week. When it passes, the bill will have to be reconciled with a House measure that was passed earlier this year.
House Holds Hearing on Supportive Housing Bill
Last Friday, June 20, the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity held a hearing on H.R. 5772, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008. H.R. 5772, introduced by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), attempts to increase the amount of affordable, supportive housing available to extremely low-income people with disabilities. The bill would enact several improvements to the existing Section 811 program. Witnesses at the hearing included Ms. Ann O'Hara of The Technical Assistance Collaborative and Mr. Ronald S. Cohen, Ph.D., the Chief Executive Officer of United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties. The webcast of the hearing has been archived online.
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