You know Erik Paulsen’s mantra — “Washington MUST do more with less” — and that will be on full display as the Republican-controlled House begins to vote on various appropriations bills for FY2018.
FYI : Technically, this should have already been done — they were scheduled to have appropriations finalized June 10 and the full budget completed June 30th.
But progress is being made … slowly.
The Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development has approved funding for Department of Transportation and for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The measure will next advance to the full Appropriations Committee and eventually for a vote by the full House.
So, let’s look at some of the spending programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME investment Partnerships program, which provides states and localities with grants meant to support affordable housing, would receive $100 million less than in the current fiscal year.
The bill would provide $100 million less for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) than the current authorization. The U.S. Conference of Mayors had wanted $400 million more for the CDBG program, which provides a flexible source of funding for local governments to help cover costs ranging from renovating vacant buildings, to assisting the elderly and the homeless.
Funding for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants would be zeroed-out. Thus Congress wants a $500 million reduction for the TIGER program. The grants have funded road and transit projects in urban and rural areas across the U.S.
OK … so this sub-committee has heard the Paulsen message — “Washington spends too much. We need to spend less.”
And housing seems to be one area where the House can see making a cut.
Meanwhile, The House Appropriations Committee released the FY2018 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. That “legislation increases security and protection, and ensures a safe and well-functioning Capitol Complex.”
The total included for the House and joint operations, excluding Senate-only items, is $3.58 billion. This is $100 million more than Fiscal Year 2017 level.
OK … so this committee wants more money … guess they didn’t hear the Paulsen message — “Washington spends too much. We need to spend less” — when it comes to their own budgets.
Funny thing is that not all Members feel that Members of Congress are getting enough money …
And housing seems to be one area where the House is hearing the need to add money …
Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz said Members of Congress should get a $30000 a year housing stipend to offset travel costs … since making that statement, Congressman Chaffetz has resigned to join the private sector.
Potentially, that would mean an increase of over $16 million if enacted.
Another area that is being discussed is security for Members … H.Res.411 Adjusting the amount of the Members’ Representational Allowance would add $25,000 to each Members’ account for “necessary expenses associated with security measures” — that’s another $10 million.
FYI : There is also H.R.2909 – DC Personal Protection Reciprocity Act that has garnered 80 sponsors thus providing Members to be able to carry guns for personal protection.
Oh, yeah, don’t forget the story in May that Congress Allocates $120 Million for Trump Family’s Security Costs.
The Paulsen mantra provides a convenient campaign theme … but let’s watch his votes to see how he implements it — targeting cuts for communities and improvements or pushing back on more spending for the Legislative Branch.