Tag: congress

Top spring break destination this year is your Congressional representatives’ district offices

Springtime on Capitol Hill. Photo by Kate Harbath via Flickr.

As the adage goes, April showers bring…Congress home for spring break!

Spring break is a great time to meet with your Senators or Representative in your community and ask them to support the Safe Streets Act (S. 2004/H.R. 2468), which encourages communities to consider safety improvements for all users in transportation project planning.

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House tax reform proposal a mixed bag on urban development issues

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) took the first step toward comprehensive tax reform yesterday and introduced a proposal that would have a mixed impact on communities’ efforts to grow in smart, economically efficient ways. Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, and Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, issued this joint statement in response:

“Above all, we’re glad Congress is finally tackling comprehensive tax reform. Hundreds of billions are currently spent through the tax code on housing and community development and much of this could be spent better than it is today. For anyone who wants to see these incentives achieve their maximum effect—helping Americans access good affordable housing choices in safe, stable, thriving communities, tax reform is a must.


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What smart growth advocates need to know about the omnibus appropriations bill

Congress
Last night, Congress released a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014, which lays out funding for agencies and their programs working to help communities build in smarter, stronger ways.

The bill contains many high points for smart growth advocates, and if you were one of the many people who encouraged Congress to pass a strong appropriations bill in the past few days, thank you. Your voices were heard!

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Will the first Promise Zones also be the last?

Later today at the White House, President Obama will announce the first ever Promise Zone communities.

Promise Zones explore new strategies to bolster local economies. From education to housing to job creation, the program helps communities find creative solutions to their challenges—and that’s something every town and city can learn from.

Voice your support for community innovation: Send a letter to Congress today.

Today, Congress is debating whether communities will be able to keep doing this work.

The House and the Senate are still negotiating fiscal year 2014′s federal budget—including important programs that support community development.

Promise Zones are just one of the many federal initiatives that could be hampered—or eliminated—when Congress reaches a final budget deal.

Tell Congress to support programs like Promise Zones: Send a letter to your representatives today.

San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma—the first five Promise Zone communities—will get new resources to help them grow stronger from the ground up.

Federal programs have helped hundreds of other communities—and can help hundreds more—but Congress needs to hear from you to make it happen. Take a minute and send a letter today.

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Top 10 of 2013: Helping vacant land become neighborhood hubs through the BUILD Act of 2013

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This month, we’re looking back at some of Smart Growth America’s brightest moments and greatest accomplishments from 2013. Today’s highlight? Our work to get thousands of square miles of brownfields sites cleaned up and redeveloped through a bill introduced in Congress this year.

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2013 would help communities across the country clean up brownfields sites and get them back into productive use. Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ), Inhofe (R-OK), Crapo (R-ID) and Udall (D-NM) introduced the bill in March, and since then Senators Hirono, Merkley, Brown, Schatz, Whitehouse, Gillibrand and Levin have all signed on as additional cosponsors.

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LOCUS developers to meet in Washington, DC next week and call for overhaul of federal real estate programs

LOCUS Winter Meeting
LOCUS members gathered earlier this year at the coalition’s winter meeting.

Federal real estate programs could be doing more for families, taxpayers and communities, and a national coalition of real estate developers and investors will convene in Washington, DC next week to advocate for changes to these enormous programs.

LOCUS, Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, will gather in Washington and meet with members of Congress on October 8 and 9, 2013 to advocate for reforms to federal real estate programs that could broaden housing opportunities, revitalize cities and towns nationwide while saving taxpayers upwards of $33 billion a year.

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Policy Update: Federal Government Shutdown

As of midnight on September 30th, the Federal Government was ‘shutdown’ after Congress was unable to agree upon the terms of a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government past September 30th.

House Republicans fought to delay and defund parts of the Affordable Care Act despite President Obama and Senate Democrats saying they would not support any such bill. Instead, Senate Democrats passed a ‘clean’ CR to fund the government through November 15th. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) on Monday that she would provide votes from House Democrats to pass a multi-month funding resolution. But that didn’t happen.

The ‘shutdown’ will not affect critical government services such as military, air traffic controllers, mail, Social Security and Medicare. However, many programs that are funded through the annual appropriations process will come to a halt until further notice.

The last government shut down occurred 17 years ago when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House and Bill Clinton was President. That shut down lasted 28 days.

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Committees in both House and Senate pass appropriations bills for transportation, housing and urban development

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The House Appropriations Committee, in meeting today. Image via C-SPAN.

The appropriations committees in both chambers of Congress passed bills this morning that will decide funding for transportation, housing and urban development programs in fiscal year 2014.

In the Senate, the committee’s proposal includes funding for many of the country’s most important community development programs. The Department of Transportation (DOT)’s TIGER grant program would receive $550 million to suppors a wide variety of transportation projects including bridges, public transit and railroads. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Integrated Planning and Investment grants, part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, would be allocated $75 million for the coming year.

“HUD’s programs solve local problem with local people,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). The Senate committee passed the bill quickly, just after 10 AM, with few remarks.

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Senate votes to fund Partnership for Sustainable Communities, both bills go to full committee

As Congress negotiates the federal budget for the coming fiscal year, where do community development programs stand?

As of today, subcommittees in both the House and Senate have come out with their proposals for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding for fiscal year 2014.

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House subcommittee introduces bill that cuts funding to Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

Earlier today the House Appropriations Subcommittee introduced the fiscal year 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill. The bill slashes funding to programs at both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by $7.7 billion compared to their 2013 spending levels. At DOT, the budget would eliminate funding for the TIGER grant program and rescind $237 million in unobligated TIGER funding from 2013. The bill would also eliminate funding for high-speed rail and cut Amtrak’s subsidy by a third.

At HUD the bill would cut overall funding by 35% compared to FY 2013, including a 50% cut to Community Development Block Grants and a 30% cut to the HOME Investment Partnership Program. The bill would also zero out funding for HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, created just this year. President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposed $75 million in funding for that office.

In response to the proposed bill, Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, issued the following statement.

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