Federal housing funds, the environment facing the budget ax | Guam News


Federal funds for the protection of the environment of Guam, to help the island improve the quality of its drinking water, and certain programs of the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority, have been placed on the chopping block of the Trump administration. .

Bureau of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, at a press conference Friday with domestic and international reporters, said the increase in military spending would be offset by cuts in discretionary funding for some agencies.

Some of these federal agencies facing severe budget cuts also provide millions of dollars a year in financial assistance to the government of Guam.

Guam EPA Benefactor

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will get a 31 percent budget cut, according to a transcript of Mulvaney’s discussion of the federal discretionary budget.

It’s unclear which U.S. EPA spending items would be cut, but federal funds have helped Guam’s EPA and the Guam Waterworks Authority with millions of dollars in aid in previous years.

The US EPA announced a grant of more than $ 3 million last year to support the operations of its Guam counterpart.

Last year, the federal environment agency also awarded GWA $ 7.8 million for projects that will improve the quality of drinking water on the island.

Another federal agency whose discretionary funds will be sharply reduced is the US Housing and Urban Development, in particular its Community Development Block Grant. HUD faces a 13% budget cut.

The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority receives about $ 3 million per year through this block funding, said GHURA executive director Mike Duenas.

The budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration mainly concern programs that fall under discretionary funding. His wishlist for budget cuts has yet to be considered and approved by Congress.

The Trump administration is also planning to cut the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provided Guam with about $ 169,052 in a previous year. The program helps low-income families improve the energy efficiency of their homes, such as installing new energy-efficient air conditioning units and water heaters.

HUD funding for GHURA

HUD is the primary source of funding for almost all of GHURA’s programs, including the Section 8 housing program. Section 8 provides rental vouchers for qualified families in need, with preference given to families of US citizens. first.

Based on Mulvaney’s statement, Section 8 funding was not mentioned as being in danger of getting the budget ax.

However, HUD’s Community Development Block grant – money the federal government gives to states and territories, for projects such as developing housing-related infrastructure or services for low-income families, is on the list. budget cuts.

“No one is going to get kicked out of their homes,” Mulvaney said. “What we did when we looked at the HUD budget was try to find a way to spend money better, and what we saw… during the HUD budget analysis is that a lot of their money has been spent on housing and public buildings. It’s actually infrastructure. And what (HUD Secretary Ben) Carson and I talked about was was to find a way to do this better. “

Block grants program results ‘not showing’

Mulvaney called the Community Development Block Grant a program that turned out to “show no results.”

“Here’s what I can tell you about CDBGs because that’s what we fund – isn’t it? – is we’ve spent $ 150 billion on these programs since the 1970s,” said Mulvaney. “CDBGs have been identified as programs since (…) the second Bush administration as those that simply showed no results. We can’t do it anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. “

The Trump administration plans to increase military spending, border control and funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We are seeing increases in the VA, increases in the Department of Justice for law enforcement, increases in the Department of Homeland Security for things that include border security and border checks. immigration, ”Mulvaney said.

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