At Committee Markup, Waters Calls for Consideration of Housing Bills to Help Vulnerable Families
Today, at a House Financial Services Committee markup of three bills, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee of Financial Services, gave the following statement:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I was pleased that last week, the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance finally held a hearing on homelessness in America. The hearing was the first focused on homelessness during your tenure as Chairman. As you know, I have long requested that the Committee turn its attention to this pressing crisis. Today, there are over half a million people experiencing homelessness in America, over one-fifth of whom are children. It is simply unacceptable that in the richest nation in the world, we have children and families without roofs over their heads. Congress must take action. So it is encouraging that the Committee has begun to take a serious look at homelessness and hear from experts on the issue.
However, today’s markup is yet another missed opportunity to consider and mark up any one of the many Democratic bills to address important housing issues, including the homelessness crisis.
For example, I have introduced a number of bills this Congress that are aimed at improving the state of housing in this country.
In April of last year I introduced H.R. 2076, the Ending Homelessness Act of 2017, which would help to ensure that every American has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. The bill provides $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to federal programs and initiatives to prevent homelessness. We need a surge of new resources and a comprehensive plan to end homelessness in this country, and this bill provides a blueprint. As a Congress we pour billions of dollars into defense funding; we should have the political will to also provide these much-needed resources to end homelessness.
In June of last year I introduced H.R. 3160, the Public Housing Tenant Protection and Reinvestment Act, which would ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing for the 1.1 million families who rely on public housing. We must preserve and revitalize the nation’s public housing, which has faced chronic underfunding. The public housing system has a growing backlog of capital needs of over $26 billion, and many families in public housing are facing deteriorating living conditions that must be improved.
These are just two examples of bills that should be considered by this Committee, especially since there are a number of other housing bills on the agenda for this markup today.
Mr. Chairman, this Congress the Committee has held a series of markups of large numbers of bills on a broad range of issues – in fact we have already marked up 100 bills this Congress. Surely the Committee can find the time to consider legislation to help the nation’s most vulnerable families.
Thank you and I yield back the remainder of my time.