3:36 PM EDT

Steven Chabot, R-OH 1st

Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce section 8 spending across the board by 10 percent, $3 billion, and place the savings in the spending reduction account.

The section 8 voucher program, which was intended to provide temporary assistance for struggling Americans, has become, unfortunately, a way of life for far too many in this country. Many of our communities, like my community, Cincinnati, are struggling to deal with the program's unintended consequences in many instances in many neighborhoods.

As a result, the program is in need of serious reform. For example, to help reduce dependency on the program, we should establish time limits for beneficiaries, except for the elderly or disabled. The payments should not go on basically forever, as they do under current law.

To make certain that section 8 landlords are accountable to local communities, landlords should be required to comply with local laws and ordinances, and not be allowed to hide behind the HUD regulations when faced with complaints about their properties.

To make the program safer for both its recipients and the neighbors of those recipients, we need to ensure that convicted felons and sex offenders are barred from participation in the section 8 program.

If you are able to work, then you should have to work in order to be eligible for section 8 benefits. Until reforms like these have been implemented, spending more tax dollars on the Section 8 voucher program is akin to throwing good money after bad.

Faced with a national debt that exceeds $17 trillion and, in fact, is around $17.5 trillion now, continuing this funding is something we simply cannot afford.

Mr. Chairman, as we look for areas to reduce Federal spending, a broken program like section 8 that rewards government dependency with our tax dollars is a good place to start.

Those other things that I mentioned are things that we have offered in the past and intend to offer in legislation in the future. But relative to this particular amendment, this would just cut the funding by $3 billion, which is approximately 10 percent of the section 8 program.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

3:36 PM EDT

Steven Chabot, R-OH 1st

Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce section 8 spending across the board by 10 percent, $3 billion, and place the savings in the spending reduction account.

The section 8 voucher program, which was intended to provide temporary assistance for struggling Americans, has become, unfortunately, a way of life for far too many in this country. Many of our communities, like my community, Cincinnati, are struggling to deal with the program's unintended consequences in many instances in many neighborhoods.

As a result, the program is in need of serious reform. For example, to help reduce dependency on the program, we should establish time limits for beneficiaries, except for the elderly or disabled. The payments should not go on basically forever, as they do under current law.

To make certain that section 8 landlords are accountable to local communities, landlords should be required to comply with local laws and ordinances, and not be allowed to hide behind the HUD regulations when faced with complaints about their properties.

To make the program safer for both its recipients and the neighbors of those recipients, we need to ensure that convicted felons and sex offenders are barred from participation in the section 8 program.

If you are able to work, then you should have to work in order to be eligible for section 8 benefits. Until reforms like these have been implemented, spending more tax dollars on the Section 8 voucher program is akin to throwing good money after bad.

Faced with a national debt that exceeds $17 trillion and, in fact, is around $17.5 trillion now, continuing this funding is something we simply cannot afford.

Mr. Chairman, as we look for areas to reduce Federal spending, a broken program like section 8 that rewards government dependency with our tax dollars is a good place to start.

Those other things that I mentioned are things that we have offered in the past and intend to offer in legislation in the future. But relative to this particular amendment, this would just cut the funding by $3 billion, which is approximately 10 percent of the section 8 program.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

3:39 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I think we all know in section 8 there are reforms that are needed. This amendment does nothing to those reforms, and it should be to the authorizing Financial Services Committee to initiate the reform so that, in fact, we can change it, make it work better, and do the right thing for the people in the system. But this is just not the way to approach it.

We have worked in this bill to cut all unnecessary spending in HUD's programs. We provided funds to continue assistance to the 2.2 million families while cutting administrative fees by $150 million to $1.35 billion.

It also would cut the housing assistance for homeless veterans program, which we need to give those veterans the kind of services that they desperately need.

I agree with the gentleman from Ohio that reforms need to be done to the program. This is not the place to do those reforms, nor is he even proposing any reforms to the program, rather than just slashing important programs for people. And I don't want to be the one to have to pick and choose who is going to lose their house, their place to live under this amendment.

So for those reasons, Mr. Chairman, I would oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:39 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 3rd

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I think we all know in section 8 there are reforms that are needed. This amendment does nothing to those reforms, and it should be to the authorizing Financial Services Committee to initiate the reform so that, in fact, we can change it, make it work better, and do the right thing for the people in the system. But this is just not the way to approach it.

We have worked in this bill to cut all unnecessary spending in HUD's programs. We provided funds to continue assistance to the 2.2 million families while cutting administrative fees by $150 million to $1.35 billion.

It also would cut the housing assistance for homeless veterans program, which we need to give those veterans the kind of services that they desperately need.

I agree with the gentleman from Ohio that reforms need to be done to the program. This is not the place to do those reforms, nor is he even proposing any reforms to the program, rather than just slashing important programs for people. And I don't want to be the one to have to pick and choose who is going to lose their house, their place to live under this amendment.

So for those reasons, Mr. Chairman, I would oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

3:40 PM EDT

Ed Pastor, D-AZ 7th

Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to this amendment.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, recently they have announced that we are slowly still recovering from the Great Recession, and we still have a large number of people who are underemployed or unemployed.

The reality is that the reform that my friend from Ohio would like to bring in section 8 housing will not occur by these cuts, as pointed out by the chairman.

We believe that what this amendment would do is it would evict over 150,000 people from their homes. It would have an effect on the homeless veterans and reduce their assistance.

The reality is today that over half of the residents who live in section 8 are families with children, and so the consequences of this amendment are too dire, and we can't support it, so I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

3:40 PM EDT

Ed Pastor, D-AZ 7th

Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to this amendment.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, recently they have announced that we are slowly still recovering from the Great Recession, and we still have a large number of people who are underemployed or unemployed.

The reality is that the reform that my friend from Ohio would like to bring in section 8 housing will not occur by these cuts, as pointed out by the chairman.

We believe that what this amendment would do is it would evict over 150,000 people from their homes. It would have an effect on the homeless veterans and reduce their assistance.

The reality is today that over half of the residents who live in section 8 are families with children, and so the consequences of this amendment are too dire, and we can't support it, so I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

3:41 PM EDT

Ed Pastor, D-AZ 7th

Mr. PASTOR of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to this amendment.

As you know, Mr. Chairman, recently they have announced that we are slowly still recovering from the Great Recession, and we still have a large number of people who are underemployed or unemployed.

The reality is that the reform that my friend from Ohio would like to bring in section 8 housing will not occur by these cuts, as pointed out by the chairman.

We believe that what this amendment would do is it would evict over 150,000 people from their homes. It would have an effect on the homeless veterans and reduce their assistance.

The reality is today that over half of the residents who live in section 8 are families with children, and so the consequences of this amendment are too dire, and we can't support it, so I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.