Appropriations Update and Take Action: Funding for Healthy Housing and Lead Poisoning Prevention
by Julie Kruse
It has been a busy few weeks on the appropriations front for healthy housing.
The good news is that the Senate appropriations committee voted on June 25 for level funding for HUD and CDC healthy homes, lead poisoning prevention, and lead hazard control programs! THANK YOU to all of you for your sign-ons and phone calls to make this happen! This is all the more remarkable given the very severe budget caps!
Unfortunately, both Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) suffered billions of dollars in funding cuts overall. The cuts harmed several critical environmental health and housing programs that impact healthy housing, including the Housing Trust Fund, HOME, and CDBG. We will continue advocacy to lift the onerous budget caps and increase HUD and CDC funding levels.
Please Take Action Today
- Call Senator Collins at 202.224.2523 and say: “I’m calling to thank Senator Collins for maintaining level funding for HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. I greatly appreciate her standing up again for the health and well-being of America’s children and communities.”
- Call Senator Jack Reed at 202.224.4642 and say: “I’m calling to thank Senator Reed for maintaining level funding for HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control and for offering an amendment to increase that funding. I greatly appreciate him standing up again for the health and well-being of America’s children and communities.”
Also, please forward this email to any friends and colleagues in Maine and Rhode Island and ask them to make the phone call too!
- HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH):
- On June 9, the House of Representatives passed its HUD appropriations bill, cutting HUD’s OLHCHH funding by $35 million to $75 million in 2016.
- On June 25, the Senate appropriations committee voted in a bipartisan effort to maintain level funding for HUD’s OLHCHH at $110 million in 2016.
- CDC Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program:
- On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut this program by $500,000 to $15 million in 2016.
- On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to maintain level funding for CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention program at $15.5 million in 2016.
Several representatives and senators spoke out and offered amendments in favor of the HUD Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention programs, and Representative David Price (D-NC) mentioned the Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children’s Health (PEACH) of Durham, North Carolina, by name. Go PEACH!
The National Center for Healthy Housing and the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition will work to increase the overall budget caps to allow for funding increases to HUD and CDC and continue to advocate for level or increased funding to healthy homes programs. The House and Senate will continue to deliberate and negotiate final appropriations levels throughout the summer and fall, but the bills passed this week will provide a likely baseline.
Quotes from Capitol Hill
From the June 25, 2015, Senate Appropriations Committee hearing:
“[This amendment] provides additional resources to protect Americans and ensure their safety. For example, it would add 10 million dollars to lead hazard reduction. This has been a curse, particularly in low-income, older neighborhoods, and we have them all across the county. And once a child is infected by lead, that child’s cognitive ability, that child’s ability to succeed in school and to contribute to this community, is devastated. And it’s completely avoidable. You simply have to get the lead out.”
–Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member, HUD appropriations subcommittee
“I do want to address just one point, specific point that the senator made, and that has to do with lead hazards, which we have worked on for years. For 18 years we’ve worked on this, we’ve had hearings in our home states, and I would say that, first of all, the House bill slashed this program to only 75 million. We have funded it at 110 million dollars, which is the same level as last year. So I don’t want anyone to leave this room under this mistaken impression that we had slashed the program for lead hazard removal out of old housing stock, because that just would be inaccurate.”
–Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Chair, HUD appropriations subcommittee
“This bill would be better if we had a bipartisan agreement to lift the onerous sequester funding levels and with the resources in the amendment Ranking Member Reed will offer. His amendment would allow us to meet more of our country’s infrastructure and community needs by providing $3.9 billion for aviation and rail safety, housing, lead paint abatement, and transportation infrastructure.”
–Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Vice-Chair, HUD appropriations committee
Julie Kruse, worked as NCHH’s director of policy from November 2014 to January 2017, passionately advocating for safe, healthy, and affordable housing of high quality. In her long and distinguished career, she has served such organizations as the Immigration Equality Action Fund, the Center for Economic Progress, Chicago Women in Trades, and the Midwest Women’s Center. Since 2017, she has worked with the Family Equality Council’s public policy team to gain legal equality for LGBTQ families, LGBTQ youth needing families, and LGBTQ adults waiting to foster or adopt in the U.S. Ms. Kruse holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana and a Master of Science in education from Northwestern University.