June 23, 2021

Smith Opening Statement: House Budget Committee Hearing on President Biden's FY22 HUD Budget

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome Secretary Fudge, thank you for being here today.

The President’s budget is a massive spending and tax plan. $17 trillion in new debt. Taxes Americans to the tune of $55 trillion. In fact, the President breaks his pledge NOT to raise taxes on American families earning under $400,000.

Under this budget, in ten years, America will pay more to settle the interest on our national debt than it costs today to take care of our seniors on Medicare. It will cost more than our entire national defense, and fifteen times more than HUD’s annual budget.

But it’s not just this explosion in federal spending and debt that concerns America’s working class. It is the increased command and control over their lives by Washington bureaucrats – people who never appeared on a single ballot but which the Biden Administration wants to give undue influence over some of the most personal decisions in our lives. Like where and how we choose to live.

Already we are seeing the effects of the President’s policies – the high prices Americans are facing at the pump and in the checkout line, due to rising inflation.

For your Department, Madame Secretary, the Biden Administration has requested more than $68 billion. Over the last 6 months, Congress already provided $46 billion in rental assistance funding, which is more than 70% of your department’s annual budget.

And yet, the Administration cannot show how much of that money was actually used to repay rent during the pandemic. This is a startling lack of accountability for such an immense sum of money. This budget gives HUD a 15% raise – I would note at the same time it flatlines homeland security funding during a crisis at our southern border.

Since January, we have had over 700,000 migrants attempt to illegally enter the United States – more than the number of people in the entire state of Wyoming or Vermont.

America is a generous nation, but we must ensure that public resources go to Americans in need before illegal immigrants. That is why it’s alarming to hear that HUD is not requiring applicants to provide Social Security Numbers for Emergency Housing Vouchers. With thousands of homeless veterans struggling for help in our country, it’s unacceptable to think that this Administration would prioritize illegal immigrants over the men and women who served our country.

Congress has some work to do as well. Right now, almost every program at HUD is operating under long-expired Congressional authorizations. Democrats have been in the Majority for over 900 days, and during that time Congress has failed to reauthorize a single program at HUD. In fact, the Financial Services Committee has conducted 17 full hearings this Congress and none of them have addressed reauthorizing any of these programs. We cannot identify waste, fraud, and abuse in our federal programs if Congress fails to do its most basic job. These failures also contribute to making the web of programs that HUD administers more complex and costly over time.

After reading this budget, one thing is clear: President Biden is not focused on the concerns of the working class, even when it comes to housing policy. While gas and food prices are going up as a result of the President’s policies, this Department’s budget has an $800 million dollar subsidy for Green New Deal projects.

The working class can’t afford to wait while President Biden puts solar panels on their houses. The cost of living is going up right now. They want a budget that helps them support their families, drives up wages, and restores economic security. I’m sorry to say, this budget for HUD falls short for the American people.