Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House of Representatives Passes Appropriations Bills

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House of Representatives Passes Appropriations Bills

Article excerpt

The House of Representatives completed work on the 11 appropriations bills under its jurisdiction before recessing for the Fourth of July holiday.

NLC's appropriations priorities, and other programs important to cities, generally fared well in the House appropriations process.

Highlights include funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget and restored funding for Amtrak.


The House appropriated $4.2 billion for the CDBG program, which included $3.86 billion for grants for entitlement communities and states, in HUD.

While this is lower that last year's funding, it is a far cry from the President's proposal to eliminate CDBG. Overall funding would be reduced from $4.7 billion to $4.2 billion and, most importantly for cities, the formula grants would be decreased by $250 million from $4.1 billion to $3.86 billion.

Despite the proposed cuts in the House bill, this is a success for cities. NLC and its coalition partners achieved a major victory in securing firm support for keeping the CDBG program at HUD.

NLC will be working to increase CDBG funding in the Senate appropriations process to lay the foundation for a higher CDBG appropriation when the bills go to conference.


The President's budget proposal requests approximately $16 billion for the Section 8 Housing Voucher program, an increase of $1 billion over fiscal year 2005. The House Appropriations Committee increased funding for Section 8 vouchers by $865 million, for a total of $16.53 billion, which is $214 million below the President's budget request.

NLC policy supports increasing, maintaining and fully renewing the existing number of Section 8 housing vouchers. The House appropriated $1.9 billion for the HOME investment partnership program for Fiscal Year 2006.

This program provides assistance to low-and moderate-income families to purchase a home or incentives to developers to build affordable housing. This is level funding from Fiscal Year 2005, and slightly lower than the President's proposal of $1.941 billion.

The House zeroed out funding for the HOPE VI program, which is designed to provide funding for low-income housing projects.

The program was funded at $143 million in Fiscal Year 2005. The House report notes that this program "has had a varied and controversial history," and that $2 billion in funds from prior years remain in a backlog.

NLC's policy supports continued funding for the both the HOME and HOPE VI programs.


While funding for Amtrak was dramatically cut in committee action, it was restored by an amendment on the House floor.

The full House voted in favor of an amendment that will restore funding for Amtrak to $1.176 billion.

This amount is significantly higher than President Bush's proposal of $360 million and above the House committee level of $550 million.

NLC supports $1.5 billion for Amtrak funding in Fiscal Year 2006.

During the wait for transportation reauthorization to be completed, transportation programs were sufficiently funded through appropriations process. Highways are funded at $37 billion. Mass Transit has been funded at $8.4 billion and Airport Improvement at $3.6 billion.

Homeland Security

The President's proposed budget for funding first responder programs is almost identical to the dollars appropriated for Fiscal Year 2005 with $1.02 billion each for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative Program.

However, cities and towns would receive less state homeland security grant funding because the Administration's proposal would reduce the amount that each state would receive to a minimum of $2.6 million, with state grants based on "risk and an application-based review of need and consistency with national priorities. …

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