Rep. Capuano Voices Concerns as Republican Budget Passes House

March 30, 2001 -- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) expressed concern over a number of housing program and Department of Justice cuts included in the President's FY 2002 budget blueprint, which passed the House of Representatives this week. Rep. Capuano is a member of the House Budget Committee.

". . .the Republican budget before us cuts almost every single housing program we have. They cut $700 million from capital improvements for public housing. They completely eliminate the $310 million for the drug elimination program. They completely eliminate a meager $25 million for the rural housing and economic development program," stated Rep. Capuano during debate on the House floor.

Rep. Capuano points out that the Democratic budget proposal puts all of that money back - at a grand total of 1.5% of the total proposed tax cut. He argues that the surplus is large enough that we can continue to support important programs like the ones targeted by the Republicans, and still have enough left over for a responsible tax cut.

Rep. Capuano also raised concerns about proposed cuts to Department of Justice programs, which will threaten the federally funded Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) program - an initiative that provides local communities with funding to hire additional police officers. Rep. Capuano served as Mayor of Somerville from 1990 through 1998 and was able to utilize COPS funding. Eight additional police officers were added from 1996 - 1998 and crime was reduced by 29.2%.

"In the whole country, in the same period of time, the COPS program helped add 115,097 police officers and crime was reduced 13.6%. Is all of this a coincidence? It just happens to be the same time period when the federal government got into the crime-fighting business on a local level. I think not," Rep. Capuano stated.

The Senate is scheduled to debate their version of the FY02 budget next week.