Chairman Diaz-Balart Opening Statement at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Hearing with Secretary Carson
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) delivered the following opening statement during a House Appropriations hearing on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FY2019 budget request with Secretary Ben Carson.
As prepared for delivery:
“Today we welcome Secretary Ben Carson from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to discuss the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request.
“As I’ve stated in the past, Mr. Secretary, you have one of the most difficult and important jobs in Washington. HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. Achieving this mission is not easy by any means – HUD administers many housing and community development programs that millions of citizens rely on.
“HUD also oversees billions of dollars of disaster recovery grant funds that are critical to helping communities recover after a disaster.
“Additionally, Ginnie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration together hold a large portfolio and are critical to the stability and growth of the housing market and the economic health of the Nation.
“HUD is requesting a total of $41.24 billion in new budgetary resources in fiscal year 2019, 14 percent below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
“I would note that this budget request was developed prior to the recent bipartisan budget deal that lifted sequester for two years and raised the cap on both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.
“This significant bipartisan breakthrough sets the stage for us to take immediate action to invest in our nation’s future.
“Much of this additional non-defense discretionary spending will be targeted towards addressing the needs of our Nation’s infrastructure.
“I want to emphasize that this subcommittee considers housing to be a critical part of our infrastructure. For that reason, we will be investing in the housing priorities under the jurisdiction of this subcommittee.
“In some respects, the Administration’s budget request for all agencies and departments has been overcome by events due to this caps deal, but we owe you a fair hearing on the budget proposal before us today.
“Once again, this year, the budget request proposes to eliminate a number of programs that are important to our mayors, cities, and small towns – the Community Development Block Grant program and the HOME Investment Partnerships program, in particular.
“We’ve heard bipartisan support for these programs, and as you know, we continued funding them last year. We may make the same decision this year.
“However, we appreciate your concerns and look forward to continuing our work together to ensure that these programs remain cost-effective.
“We also understand that the Department has been developing a rent reform package. These reforms will make changes to existing rent rules across HUD’s rental assistance programs and introduce other requirements.
“As you know, these reforms are outside of this Committee’s jurisdiction and must be addressed first by the authorizing committee. While the previous Administration did not always submit its specific legislative proposals to the authorizers, it is my understanding that you intend to do so.
“I think it is important to consider all new ideas and proposals that make our limited dollars go further, and we look forward to seeing the details of this rent reform proposal when they are finalized.
“Mr. Secretary, I look forward to continuing our work together to meet our Nation’s housing and economic development needs – all while being accountable to the taxpayer.”