Dem suggests GOP housing opposition racially motivated


Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) on Wednesday implied that the Republican push to end a federal housing aid program is racially motivated.

During debate on a bill to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Baca cited Republican criticism of monetary awards under this program to Chicanos por La Causa (CPLC).

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"A lot has been made [by] my colleagues on the other side about one particular group that receives NSP funds, Chicanos por La Causa," Baca said. "What if it was another name? It didn't' matter. But because it has the name of 'chicanos,' the stereotypes and the images that are there…"

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), the sponsor of the legislation, spoke immediately afterwards and rejected Baca's implication.

"My good friend Mr. Baca mentioned one group as if I had something against chicanos," Miller said. "The problem I have is that non-government agencies such as Neighborhood Lending Parnters got $50 million. The Community Builders Inc. got $78.6 million. Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. got $60 million.

"Chicanos Por La Causa got $137 million," Miller continued. "Does that make anybody in America happy?"

Miller went on to argue that while money from the NSP was supposed to go directly to communities, large chunks of it are going to private groups, and in many cases, such as in the case of CPLC, more money goes to these groups than goes to entire counties.

"If it had been Germans for Affordable Housing I would have opposed it," Miller said. "If it had been Italians for Affordable Housing I would have opposed it. If it had been Irish-Germans for Affordable Housing at $137 million, I would have opposed it."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) noted in the debate that CPLC is a group that spans eight states, and that it is unfair to compare money sent to that group with money sent to an individual county. Miller countered that CPLC received 10 percent of a $1.3 billion dispersement under the NSP, which is too much for a single group to have.

According to the CPLC's website, the group helps people with housing and other issues, regardless of ethnic origin. The bill under consideration today is H.R. 861, which would rescind a $1 billion authorization for the NSP.