The Administration supports the purpose of S. 462, which would reform and
consolidate the Nation's public housing and Section 8 programs. The
Administration appreciates the Senate's effort to provide the Department of
Housing and Urban Development with the authority to implement needed management
reforms, as well as the ongoing efforts to improve the bill.
However, in its current form, the bill remains flawed. The Administration
believes that S. 462 is fundamentally flawed because its income targeting
requirements fail to ensure that Federal housing assistance will continue its
historic mission of helping those with very substantial housing needs. This is
particularly true for the tenant-based assistance program, where the income
eligibility level is increased and substantial previous targeting protections
are removed. These provisions could result, over time, in the loss of several
hundred thousand apartments for families with extremely low incomes. The
problem would be addressed only partially by the proposed Manager's amendment.
Therefore, in order to provide for satisfactory income targeting, S. 462 must
be amended to:
The Administration also opposes the provision of S. 462, as reported,
authorizing PHAs to obtain medical information about applicants for housing
assistance, which could increase the potential that important
antidiscrimination protections of Federal fair housing laws could be violated
and could discourage persons with drug problems from seeking treatment. The
Administration looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to address
- Target at least 75 percent of tenant-based assistance that becomes
available each year to families with incomes not exceeding 30 percent of median
income and retain the current maximum income eligibility level for tenant-based
assistance at 50 percent of median income. This would maintain the program's
focus on serving the neediest families.
- Improve the income targeting requirements for public housing so that: (1)
at least 90 percent of a public housing authority's (PHA's) new admissions have
incomes not exceeding 60 percent of median income; and (2) at least 40 percent
of families in occupancy at each housing development have incomes not exceeding
30 percent of median income. This would reduce the units available to very
low-income families only to the extent necessary to achieve income-mixing, and
would ensure access by those families to all developments.
In addition, the Administration will work with the Senate on other amendments
to S. 462 that would make it more consistent with the Administration's public
housing reform bill that was transmitted to Congress on April 18, 1997.
Pay-As-You-Go Scoring. S. 462 would affect direct spending; therefore,
it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate of this bill is
under development. If S. 462 is enacted with direct spending increases in FY
1998 that are not offset during the remainder of this session of Congress, a
pay-as-you-go sequester would be triggered at the end of the session.