On September 13th, the House Committee on Financial Services, led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D–Calif.), held a markup to deliberate the committee’s section of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. Sadly, the bill as reported out of the committee authorizes billions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures for flawed public housing programs, and increases the reach of the federal government by subsidizing down payments for mortgages.
In a now all–too–common show of partisanship, the Democrat–led committee rejected nearly every Republican–proposed amendment, seemingly without regard for substance. The top ten most absurd exclusions have been compiled in this blog post.
Republican Amendments that Democrats Rejected:
1. Democrats Reject Transparency Measures
Congressman Andy Barr’s (R–Ky.) amendment would have prevented the appropriation of $5,000,000 for the U.S. Council on Homelessness until the Council restored public access to documents on its website. What the Democrats found so offensive about the freedom of previously–available information, we have no idea.
2. Democrats Dismiss the Need for Housing Quality Standards
Congressman William Timmons (R–S.C.) introduced an amendment that would have guaranteed the quality of construction and maintenance standards for housing projects, under the threat of withholding federal funding for any project found to be in violation of guidelines. It would even empower renters to withhold rent money if landlords did not follow said standards. The second provision is particularly odd for the Democrats to strike down, given their hostility towards landlords.
3. Democrats Disregard Affordable Housing Home Inspections
Congressman John Rose (R–Tenn.), much like Rep. Timmons, put forward an amendment to codify annual, in–person inspections of housing units to guarantee their maintenance in accordance with existing federal law.
4. Democrats Decline to Prioritize First Responders for Housing
Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R–Mo.) intended to elevate first responders in their applications for housing and rental aid for service to their communities as paramedics, firemen, or policemen. One might think that such service should afford them greater benefits, but apparently the Democrats disagree.
5. Democrats Ignore Veterans’ Need for Affordable Housing
Congressman Anthony Gonzalez’s (R–Ohio) amendment sought to coordinate affordable housing efforts with the Veterans Affairs Secretary as a means of publicizing the program to those who have served in our country’s armed forces. Unlike Rep. Wagner’s proposal, it does not seek to prioritize veterans, but merely intended to make them aware that housing assistance is available for their use.
6. Democrats Oppose Amendment to Withhold Funding from Groups Already in Financial Jeopardy
Congressman Bill Huizenga (R–Mich.) thought that it would be silly to give federal funding to organizations or local governments that are unable to adequately manage their finances. The Democrats, unable to manage their own finances, obviously do not see a problem with this.
7. Democrats Vote Down Amendment to Oversee Allocation of Funding and Ensure Its Proper Use
Congressman Tom Emmer (R–Minn.) suggested that the oversight of millions of taxpayers’ dollars, to ensure their proper use, would be a sensible addition to the resolution, as well as a stipulation that a violation of rules would result in a forfeiture of the money previously allocated.
8. Democrats Refuse to Cap Excessive Development Costs
Rep. Barr further proposed a development cost cap of $750,000 per unit for new housing projects, and the reimbursement of any development expenses that exceed this limit to the federal government.
9. Democrats Strike Amendment to Prohibit False Statements on Application Forms
Congressman Van Taylor (R–Texas) believed that fraud should be illegal. The Democrats didn’t seem to mind.
10. Democrats Abandon Amendment to Prevent Housing Development in Areas of Toxic Waste
Rep. Rose did not think it best that low–income renters be housed in areas in and around locations listed on the National Priorities List, which catalogues areas contaminated by hazardous waste in the United States. To that end, he even included a provision that efforts be made to relocate them elsewhere, away from any threat to their health. The Democrats, now used to the noxious swamp that is their home in Washington, found such an idea unthinkable.