From: The Honorable Ruben Hinojosa
Sent By: holly.bullard@mail.house.gov
Date: 7/10/2014

Cosign Letter to President Urging Higher Priority for

Rural Development

Current Co-Signers: Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Brown, Rep. Brownley, Rep. Butterfield, Rep. Bustos, Rep. Capps, Rep. Cartwright, Rep. Christensen, Rep. Clay, Rep. Cleaver, Rep. Courtney, Rep. Costa, Rep. DeFazio, Rep. DelBene, Rep. Ellison, Rep. Engel, Rep. Enyart, Rep. Gene Green, Rep. Grijalva, Rep. Alcee  Hastings, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Hinojosa, Rep. Horsford, Rep. Huffman, Rep. Jackson Lee, Rep. Keating, Rep. Kilmer, Rep. Kuster, Rep. Lujan, Rep. Lujan Grisham, Rep. LoBiondo, Rep. Matsui, Rep. McGovern, Rep. McIntyre, Rep. Michaud, Rep. Nolan, Rep. Pierluisi, Rep. Pingree, Rep. Pocan, Rep. Rahall, Rep. Ruiz, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Sablan, Rep. Schakowsky, Rep. Schrader, Rep. Sewell, Rep. Shea-Porter, Rep. Bennie Thompson, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Vargas, Rep. Veasey, Rep. Vela, Rep. Welch, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Don Young

Deadline: Today COB

Dear Colleague:

As the founder and Chairman of the Rural Housing Caucus, I am deeply disappointed that the U. S. Department of Agriculture continues to put Rural Development on the back burner. Over the last few years, budget requests for rural housing, water, and wastewater programs have dropped dramatically, affirming the low priority given these programs. From 2010 to 2013, rural development cuts equaled at least $750 million. The FY14 Budget request added insult to injury by requesting $200 million in additional reductions. For 502 Direct Housing loans, the FY14 budget request from the Administration proposed a 60 percent cut.

The Section 502 Direct Loan program is the only federal homeownership program devoted solely to serving very low- and low-income rural families. Over the program’s 60-year history, 502 Direct Loans have increased the wealth of working class rural families by more than $40 billion, while being the most cost-effective federal housing program with a price tag of less than $7,200 for the life of the loan. Other federal housing programs cost near that each year.

Our rural communities are in dire need of affordable, livable housing. This Administration can and should keep the promise it made to Rural America. Please join me as a co-signer on the attached letter to the President. Please contact Holly Bullard with my staff at holly.bullard@mail.house.gov or 5-2531.

Sincerely,

Rubén Hinojosa

Member of Congress

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

January XX, 2014

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our concern about recent budget proposals for federal Rural Development programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and to urge the Administration to request greater assistance for rural America in its Fiscal Year 2015 budget. We are particularly concerned by the reductions in federal Rural Housing programs and Water and Wastewater financing.

The reason for this is simple: rural communities need more affordable housing and better community facilities. According to a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, nearly 6 percent of rural homes are either moderately or severely substandard–without hot water, with leaking roofs, rodent problems, or inadequate heating systems. In addition, close to 30 percent of all rural households spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing costs and are considered “cost burdened.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports indicate the need for small community water systems exceeds $60 billion. Additionally, the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) reported that poverty rates in rural America (17.7 percent) are higher than urban areas (14.5 percent) and more concentrated. In fact, 82 percent of high-poverty counties—or 571 of the 703 counties with at least a 20 percent poverty rate—are rural. The number of high-poverty rural counties has grown by 30 percent since 2000.

Recent budgets for Rural Development appropriations submitted by USDA are simply not adequate to meet the character and dimension of need. Since 2010, USDA has repeatedly proposed substantial reductions in Rural Development direct loans and grants for housing and community facilities. For Fiscal Years 2011-2014 the total of proposed reductions exceeded $700 million. Further, reliance on guaranteed loans will not adequately address the needs of small towns and farming communities.

It is our view that Rural Development should be a priority at USDA.  Direct loans and grants for Rural Housing and Water and Wastewater have been reduced by far too great an amount.  We urge you to direct USDA to reverse the recent trend and restore Rural Development as a priority in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

Sincerely,

__________________

Member of Congress