What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : H.R. 1227, Al Green of Texas amendment to allow low-income residents in areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes along the Gulf Coast to receive Section 8 housing grants/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 166)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
H.R. 1227, Al Green of Texas amendment to allow low-income residents in areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes along the Gulf Coast to receive Section 8 housing grants/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 166     Mar 20, 2007
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Progressive Result
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This vote was on an amendment by Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) that would extend housing assistance provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma through the end of 2007. After that time, the amendment would give housing assistance to evacuees through the housing-assistance program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The bill which Green sought to amend would prevent the demolition of damaged public housing in New Orleans until the federal government comes up with replacement units. The underlying measure would also grant displaced public housing tenants an absolute right of return and remove restrictions on the approximately $110 billion already appropriated for hurricane recovery.

Green said his amendment was meant to take FEMA out of "the Katrina long-term housing crisis" and put the low-income residents still receiving FEMA housing assistance in a federal program run by HUD that is better equipped to meet their needs. The amendment would allow people living in FEMA trailers who are eligible for section 8 housing vouchers to receive them. (Section 8 refers to a federal program providing assistance to low-income families in the form of rental assistance vouchers.) Landlords would not be required to accept the vouchers, however, as they are under the law governing other Section 8 housing assistance.

Green said that the reason there is a housing crisis is because 7 out of 10 households receiving rental assistance have annual incomes below $15,000 per year and over 40 percent have health care problems that impact upon their abilities to work. Green said that FEMA has responded to this crisis by "moving real people with real problems from one deadline to another deadline."

The amendment, he added, has a budget score of zero, meaning that it has no cost to the taxpayer.

Rep. Judy Biggert (D-Ill.) said that turning FEMA assistance into Section 8 housing concerned her. Deadlines for assistance to run out, she said, encourage families to make decisions about their future rather than continuing the expectation that the federal government will provide for them.

All Democrats presented voted with Green to pass his amendment, and they were joined by 14 Republicans. By a vote of 246-184, the House voted to grant Section 8 housing vouchers to displaced low-income residents after their extended FEMA assistance expires. Thus, a bill to prevent the demolition of damaged public housing in New Orleans until the federal government comes up with replacement units was amended to include a provision extending FEMA housing assistance until the end of 2007 and then allow displaced residents who qualify for Section 8 rental assistance to receive it from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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