WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors today applauds Urban Caucus Chair Congressman Chaka Fattah's (PA) introduction of an amendment yesterday in the House Appropriations Committee to restore funding cut last week from the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which is the most targeted and flexible stream of federal dollars that goes directly to cities. The amendment, defeated along a party line vote, would've increased CDBG funding to $3.3 billion.
At the start of the Conference's Annual Meeting in Las Vegas last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development voted to cut the program by almost FIFTY PERCENT (from $3.08 billion in FY13 to $1.6 billion in FY14). The nation's mayors, who use CDBG funding to take care of the most vulnerable people in their communities, create jobs, and leverage private dollars for economic and local infrastructure projects, strongly opposed the cut calling it "irresponsible."
During the groups' annual gathering, local leaders held a press conference to decry what they see as gouging of the program. See video at http://www.usmayors.org/81stAnnualMeeting/.
Just sworn in as USCM President, Mesa (AZ) Mayor Scott Smith said, "The CDBG program has enjoyed forty years of bipartisan support. And the program, which helps real people, has already suffered significant cuts. Why would anyone cut this successful program again? This is just a dumb cut."
Immediate Past President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who Congressman Fattah represents in the 2nd Congressional District of Pennsylvania said, "Mayors around the country are outraged, dismayed and disheartened. This cut to the CDBG program shows just how out of touch Congress really is. You really have to wonder if they are aware that people are still losing their homes to foreclosure, struggling to pay back student loans and suffering from long-term unemployment. At a time when our nation is struggling to recover from recession – a program that is a PROVEN job creator, as well as a safety net for our most vulnerable, has just been put in jeopardy when our residents and neighborhoods need it most."
The Conference also released economic data in conjunction with their work with IHS Global Insight, projecting that by the end of 2013, only 109 of the nation's 363 cities and their metro areas will have recovered the jobs lost during the Great Recession. That is only 30 percent of U.S. metros coming back from the brink of economic decline -- clearly indicating a long way to go to full recovery and a need for the CDBG program.
"The nation's mayors are grateful to Congressman Fattah for this amendment and will do everything we can to work with a coalition of municipal groups to beat back these cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program," said USCM President Smith."
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,295 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors