WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD)and other Senators from across the country today stood with advocates for homeless veterans to oppose a provision in Republicans’ reckless spending proposal that would cut 10,000 housing vouchers that would keep homeless veterans off the streets next year.
The Republicans’ proposed cut would eliminate funding for the successful HUD/VASH grant program that provides homeless veterans with a year-long rental voucher. These cuts would seriously threaten efforts by Congress and the Obama Administration to end homelessness among our veterans, and would leave local providers without the resources they rely on to fight veteran homelessness.
“We owe so much to those who have served in our military. Cutting funding that is helping to keep our veterans from being homeless is no way to express our gratitude but that is exactly what the House budget proposes,” said Senator Cardin. “We have a moral obligation to the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform to stop these irresponsible cuts from ever taking affect.”
“I am extremely disappointed that the Republicans’ budget proposal slashes this critical program that has helped so many veterans move off the streets and into permanent housing,” said Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Conference Secretary. “We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the resources and support they need to put a roof over their heads. And this is just one more example of the Republicans’ reckless budget that puts politics and ideology over families, communities, and even those who have served and sacrificed for our nation.”
“Republicans’ extreme budget proposal would halt a program that has successfully taken 600 Nevada veterans off the streets and put them into safe, permanent housing. If Republicans had their way, veterans like these would be out on the streets,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Homelessness among veterans is a serious problem. Our nation’s veterans were there when we needed them, and they put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. We owe it to them to be there when they need us.”
“Last night in Illinois, 2,000 homeless veterans were on the street,” Sen. Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader. “We need to make sure that when our fighting men and women return home, they are treated with dignity and respect they have earned. It’s time for us to reject this bragging rights contest of who can cut the most, and focus instead on what those cuts mean to the lives of the men and women who have served us so well.”
“We need to make cuts, but the sacrifice must be shared. We shouldn’t balance our budgets on the backs of veterans who have already sacrificed for our country,” said Senator Charles Schumer, Vice Chair of the Conference and Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center.
“We face a difficult budgetary environment where we will have to make tough choices with limited resources,” said Senator Jack Reed. “But eliminating $75 million that would keep 10,000 veterans from becoming homeless next year is short-sighted and wrong. Our veterans fought for us, and we will continue to fight for them by investing in this vital program that makes a real difference in their lives. This is one small down payment on our important obligation to our veterans.”
“The House Republicans’ decision to slash funding for housing assistance to thousands of homeless veterans shows a total lack of humanity,” said Senator Barbara Boxer. “These cuts would be devastating to veterans in California, which has the largest population of homeless veterans. These brave men and women deserve the best.”