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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

Presidential FY 07 Budget Statement

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]:  Mr. Chairman, I had intended to keep my remarks along the lines of the housing and community development concerns that I have as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Affairs, but I cannot sit here and witness what I just heard from the opposite side of the aisle without joining with my colleagues and certainly calling the Republican budget resolution irresponsible. And certainly we support the tax alternative, the Spratt alternative, the Democratic alternative, because not only do we have a more responsible alternative, we have said over and over again to the opposite side of the aisle, while the President of the United States has been spending like a drunken sailor, that you cannot, you cannot wage this war, you cannot spend the money that has been spent on the military and have the kind of deep tax cuts that he has imposed upon this Nation, over $2 trillion since 2001. And to add to that, the President of the United States promised us that we would get money from the pumping of the oil in Iraq, we would use that money to help rehabilitate, to rebuild Iraq. But instead they cannot account for $9 billion unaccounted for, and about $2 billion of that was stolen by Halliburton, and so to challenge us about responsibility is laughable.

 As a matter of fact, when we take a look at this budget, aside from the disaster that has been caused by these tax cuts, we find that this budget is cutting the most vulnerable people in our society. When I look at the fact that persons with disabilities are going to be cut 50 percent in the housing budget, when I look at the fact that the elderly will be cut by 25 percent, then who are they to call us irresponsible?

 Mr. Chairman, there is a housing crisis in the United States of America, and not simply because of Katrina and Rita. Those trailers down there under this administration are sitting, they remain empty, the public housing units have not been rehabilitated. We are confronted with a real catastrophe here.

 Further, there is not a single metropolitan area where extremely low income families can be assured of finding a modest two-bedroom rental home that is affordable, and there are literally millions of people who are homeless.

 I am also concerned about the $736 million in cuts this budget makes to Community Development Block Grant program. CDBG is an indispensable program to communities across the Nation for housing, neighborhood improvements, and public services. My own State of California will lose $119.7 million and Los Angeles County would lose $41.1 million in CDBG funding, especially if these cuts are enacted. And I want to tell you, little towns all over America depend on these.