Once again, the Republican Party is showing that it cares very little about the average American and their struggles.
While taking a stab and crafting a budget that will serve the nation in the long-term, Republican members of the House of Representatives proposed cutting $5.7 billion from affordable housing programs.
They also want to eliminate more than $550 million from a program that offsets rent costs for low-income senior citizens and do away with over $200 million that helps people with disabilities pay for housing. If that weren’t enough, they also want to end funding for a program that provides counseling to families fighting foreclosure.
The recession has seen an increase in the number of homeless people in this country. With so many Americans out of work or employed in low paying positions, rent is an expense that eats away at a large chunk of whatever income they bring in.
Without these government subsidies, we’ll see more and more families forced into the streets. Similarly, foreclosure counseling has helped a great number of people stay in their homes.
Without access to this service, more people will lose their greatest asset. Of all the programs the Republicans could look to cut, housing is the one area they should leave alone. It’s inconceivable that a political party would fight so hard to extend tax cuts for the rich while working equally hard to keep the poor down and to move the middle class into poverty and homelessness.
Congress has gone back and forth, arguing on a budget that would carry the federal government through the remainder of this fiscal year. There is a sense of urgency; if no agreement can be reached, the government will shut down and any “non essential” government business would cease. Federal workers would be out of work and the services they provide no longer available, creating frustration for all of us.
Recently, the President approved a temporary budget that will keep the government running through March 18. But, he and Congress need to decide on a longer term budget, one that will keep the government funded through September 30. Already, there is some dissatisfaction with the $4 billion in cuts in the temporary measure. Indeed, America has to make some tough decisions about how it spends its money if the nation is to reduce the deficit. Intellectually, most Americans understand and accept that truth. The progressive thinkers among us just don’t want those cuts to come at the expense of the poor and working class.
Call your Congressman and express outrage over the Republican budget proposal. Tell them to keep their hands off housing programs. Demand that they stand up for the average American. Not sure how to get in touch with your legislator? Visit “http://www.usa.gov” www.usa.gov to find out how.
(Judge Greg Mathis is vice president of RainbowPUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.)