USA: Tenants Mobilize for 2018 People`s Budget


In the United
States, the 2016 Democratic Party Platform featured stronger-than-ever language
that seemed to embrace most of these substantive recommendations National
Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT) proposed that year: increased funding for
vouchers, public housing repairs, fair housing, although without specific
dollar recommendations. In preparing for the upcoming national budgeting
process, NAHT argues that the 2018 Peoples Budget should be at least as strong
and progressive as the mainstream Party platform.

NAHT is the first national membership organization of
resident groups advocating for 2.1 million lower-income families living in
privately owned, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-assisted
multifamily housing. Amid the promised and actual violations of housing rights
under US president Trump and his Republican Party-approved HUD secretary Ben
Carson, NAHT is trying to strengthen the housing platform of the Peoples
Budget, the alternative Budget Resolution filed each year by the House
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CBC), the left wing of the Democratic Party
in the US Congress’ House of Representatives.

The CPC Budget is offered as an amendment to the
congressional budget resolution that sets funding levels for all US Government
agencies, scheduled to be passed in the US House in April 2017. In 2015, the
last time there was a budget resolution vote, the Peoples Budget drew 96 votes
(the US House has 435 members). This year, the vote will be a test of the
strength of support for progressive alternatives in Congress. Amid the
broad-based backlash against the 45th president and his entourage this year,
NAHT expects the positive votes to increase, in part due to a newly initiated
national Peoples Budget Campaign with several other national allies.

The new NAHT campaign is rally under the banner: “A Right
to Housing for All: Toward a Decent Home for Every American Family.” This claim
reflects a commitment that came from the US Congress to the goal of a “decent
home… for every American family.” Almost 70 years later, the nation’s housing
crisis remains unabated.

In 2017, NAHT campaigners expect House Republicans to
propose extremist cuts to the US budget in the range of $6 to $10 trillion over
the next 10 years. This would represent a 50% cut in all domestic discretionary
programs such as housing, as well as cuts to health care and Social Security
“entitlement” programs, tax cuts for the rich, and increased Pentagon spending.

For housing programs, Trumps’ new Budget Director Mick
Mulvaney (approved by the Senate last Thursday) last year supported a Heritage
Foundation-proposed budget that sought to eliminate low-income rental subsidies
for five million households over 10 years.

At this point, NAHT has not yet learned what exactly will
be proposed for fiscal year 2018, but they are cautioning against optimism.
Instead, NAHT ‎Executive Director Mike Kane did
reveal, “We are preparing for a big fight.”

Download the NAHT
recommendations for the 2018 CPC Peoples Budget