CHN: President Bush Signs VA-HUD Appropriations Bill
Articles from December 7, 2001
- President Bush Signs VA-HUD Appropriations Bill
President Bush signed the fiscal 2002 Veterans Affairs-Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) appropriations bill into law on November 26. HUD’s budget was funded at $30 billion. The Housing Certificate Fund, which received $15.641 billion, should fully fund Section 8 renewals; however, the bill includes just 26,000 new Section 8 vouchers, a sharp decrease from last year’s number of 79,000. Public housing funding was cut by approximately three percent. The HOME Program received a slight increase, and Shelter Plus Care was fully renewed. The language in the Senate measure that would have transferred unused Section 8 funds to other programs like NASA and NSA was not included in the final bill.
- Negotiations Begin on Economic Stimulus Package
After stalling for a week over procedural differences, negotiations on an economic stimulus bill between House and Senate lawmakers got under way this week. Tax breaks for corporations and upper-income individuals versus spending on unemployment benefits and medical coverage for displaced workers are at the crux of negotiations that began December 5.
- Conferees Try to Wrap Up Education Overhaul Bill
A House-Senate conference committee is still working on massive education overhaul legislation (HR 1), which has stalled due to conflict over special education funding. Although the debate over this primary issue is still ongoing, conferees have been able to come to agreement on most other priority issues included in the bill.
Farm Bill Introduced On Senate Floor, Contains Food Stamp Reauthorization
On Wednesday, December 5, the Senate Agriculture Committee-passed Farm Bill (S 1731) was introduced on the Senate floor. Amendments are expected to be introduced beginning December 11. Also on Wednesday, the Bush administration released a statement that was sharply critical of the Senate bill. The administration came out in support of an alternative approach that will be offered as an amendment by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Although not yet introduced, the Cochran-Roberts proposal maintains the $6.2 billion nutrition title contained in the committee bill. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is expected to offer an amendment to increase funding for the nutrition title to $10 billion. Advocates continue to push for a strong nutrition title that includes adequate food stamp funding, program improvements, and a restoration of food stamp benefits for legal immigrants.