Something very serious is about to hit the United States, and it’s not a stray meteorite from outer space. It’s got the potential to impact the life of every American, but it’s going to hit low income people hardest. And as much as everyone wants to stop it, no one seems to know how.
What’s this very serious thing? It’s sequestration.
These automatic, across-the-board cuts to federal programs were supposed to be the stick that got lawmakers to agree on a more reasonable deficit reduction plan. Instead, Members of Congress and President Obama have continued to disagree over how to avert sequestration, locking heads over whether or not to include new revenue as well as cuts in a plan to balance the budget. The New York Times notes that President Obama already agreed to $1.5 trillion in spending cuts last year, making it high time to consider new revenue as an alternative to ten years of indiscriminate budget cuts.
Those on the far right have a different opinion. The Washington Post reports that a group called Americans for Prosperity are pushing House Republicans to allow sequestration to move forward. If you are a lawmaker in favor of limited government, they say, you should support the sequester.
So what’s the potential impact on housing? Reuters reports from the Senate Appropriations hearing on sequestration Thursday that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan warned that cuts to HUD would have a tremendous impact not just on housing, but on the financial future of the nation as a whole due to the impact of housing on the economy. Secretary Donovan called sequestration a “blunt instrument,” and said that if sequestration took place, hundreds of thousands of low income and formerly homeless people would lose their access to housing they can afford, and the Super Storm Sandy recovery effort would be threatened.
Do you think Congress can act in time to avert sequestration? What alternative to sequestration do you want your Members of Congress to support? What do you think housing advocates can do to support better alternatives? Let’s talk about it in the comments.