March 27, 2001


Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Lee today voiced strong opposition to House passage of the Republican budget, H.Con. Res. 83 by a vote of 222-205. The budget cuts funding for low income energy assistance programs, cuts programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and omits funding for electoral reform.

"The Bush/Republican Budget makes cuts to essential programs that improve the quality of life for millions of Americans," said
Lee. "The budget requests the smallest increase for education funding in five years, dramatically slashes programs for affordable housing and energy programs, and does not address electoral reforms that will prohibit the electoral irregularities that were witnessed in Florida."

The Bush/Republican budget cuts $859 million from the HUD public housing budget, including funding for repair and
maintenance, for drug prevention security services, and for community development and other affordable housing programs. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) alternative budget resolution championed by Congresswoman Lee would invest $2 billion per year for an affordable housing construction program and an increase of $500 million for public housing upkeep. In addition, the CPC budget increases Section 8 housing vouchers by $575 million to provide 100, 000 more vouchers, and provides a $200 million increase for Homeless Assistance Grants, as well as increased funding for child care development and social services programs.

"There is currently an extreme lack of affordable housing all over the nation and particularly in the Bay Area. Efforts to rectify the problem are being sacrificed in order to fund Bush's tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy," said Lee. "Families are finding the American dream of home-ownership harder and harder to attain, and we must develop a national housing agenda to address this crisis. The Progressive Caucus budget proposes real solutions to our housing crisis."

The Bush/Republican budget freezes funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) next year and
does not provide any funding at all in the LIHEAP emergency account. Despite record high energy prices in the West and recent winter storms in the Northeast, fewer than one in three eligible families get LIHEAP assistance because the program is not fully funded. The CPC budget provides a nearly 400% increase in funding for LIHEAP, and also provides increased funding for the low-income weatherization program, for the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, and provides funding for a Natural Gas Reserve.

"California is facing an energy crisis that will have a devastating effect on other states facing energy problems of their own. The
Public Utilities Commission recently voted to raise consumer rates by as much as 46%," said Lee. "The Progressive budget will help Californians and others across the country pay their increasing energy bills, but more importantly, the budget focuses on a long term energy plan by redirecting resources from fossil fuel research to funding research and investment into cleaner
alternative and renewable fuels."

The Bush/Republican budget also fails to provide funding for electoral reform and does not include resources for the purchase or lease of updated voting technology for election jurisdictions. The CPC budget reserves $2.5 billion to assist states and localities in upgrading election procedures and voting technology.

"The right to vote is the very basis of democracy. When the Congressional Black Caucus met with President Bush earlier this
year, he assured us that his budget would provide funding for electoral reform so that the voting irregularities that took place in
Florida would not occur again," said Lee. "President Bush has once again shown that while he speaks of uniting the country and changing the tone in Washington, his actions and the policies of Congressional Republicans are very conservative and out of step with the beliefs and values of most Americans."