With all the commotion regarding the transportation bill and the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, seemingly getting lost is work Congress is doing on the 2013 budget. And one very important piece, HR 5972, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development budget passed the House with good news for communities.
This budget contains funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and lo and behold if it isn’t the House passed version that contains the highest amount of funding at $3.34 billion. Compare this to the President’s proposed $2.9 billion and the Senate’s $3.1 billion and things are looking very good for some kind of increase.
That said, the full House had to stave off amendment votes on various issues that would have reduced or eliminated funding in certain key areas. Examples include amendment that would have, 1) cut $396 million from the amount provided for assistance to state and local governments for economic and community development activities; 2) eliminated all funding for CDGB; 3) eliminated all funding for community development loan guarantees; 4) reduced the amount provided for the HOME investment partnerships program. Below is a vote report of Michigan’s congressional delegation voted on each of these four amendments.
Passage of this bill is another step along the way in creating a Fiscal Year 2013 federal budget that will probably not be completed until after the election. Recall that if no agreement is reached by the end of the year, the debt agreement calls for automatic cuts in both defense and non-defense spending beginning in January of 2013. Both sides have expressed their desire to avoid such cuts but at this point in time there appears to be little common ground to get there.
Members are urged to encourage Congress to take a balanced approach to the budget. Be sure to speak to your representative about the importance of various federal programs, such as CDGB, that you have used to improve quality of living in your community.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.
Amendment vote records: Amash Y Y Y Y; Benishek Y N Y Y; Camp Y N N Y; Clarke N N N N; Conyers N N N N; Dingell N N N N; Huizenga Y Y Y Y; Kildee N N N N; Levin, S. N N N N; McCotter N N N N; Miller, C. Y N N Y; Peters (D) N N N N; Rogers, Mike Y N Y Y; Upton (R) Y N Y Y; Walberg (R) N N Y Y