Harrisburg, PA – March 10, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) is calling on House Democrat leaders to bring House Bill 60 to the floor for a vote so Pennsylvania can take full advantage of federal affordable housing funds. The bill was scheduled for consideration on Monday, but Barrar believes it was later pulled from the calendar due to amendments that would ban groups like ACORN from receiving any funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
“It is important that we pass this legislation so PHFA can use any available federal housing funds to expand its affordable housing programs,” said Barrar. “We should make this legislation a priority.”
The legislation in question would allow PHFA to use federal funds to provide safe rental properties for low- and moderate-income families and would allow people to realize home ownership. It would also increase the availability of quality housing for senior citizens and those with disabilities, reduce homelessness and provide housing and foreclosure prevention counseling.
Barrar has several amendments to the bill that he believes would be approved if the bill were to be brought to the floor for a vote. The amendments would:
- Prohibit entities that receive PHFA funds from engaging in political activity, illegal activities or advising others to engage in illegal activities. Organizations violating this prohibition could be subject to recapture of funds.
- Require PHFA to obtain the state police criminal history report for each applicant for counseling certification.
- Ban PHFA funds from any nonprofit organization that is under indictment or has been convicted of any violation of campaign finance or election law or of filing a fraudulent form with a government agency; or that is the subject of a cease and desist order from the Pennsylvania Department of State.
“We have seen the Democrat leadership use this tactic time and again, but it is wrong for them to delay this important housing bill to protect a partisan political organization,” said Barrar. “I urge the House leaders to bring House Bill 60 up for a vote and to give fair consideration to all amendments filed on the bill.”
Barrar noted that he has attempted on several occasions to defund ACORN only to have House Democrat leaders use procedural tactics to protect the organization. In October 2009, a Barrar amendment to a budget bill that would have divested state funding from ACORN was approved by a vote of 157-42, but the language was later stripped from the final version of the bill.
“This is about being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and ensuring that every organization receiving state funding is operating within the law and using those dollars for their intended purpose,” said Barrar. “The majority of the House agreed in October that this is the right thing to do, but a select few members are using their power to protect ACORN at the expense of every citizen in Pennsylvania.”
Barrar is also advocating a resolution that would have the attorney general investigate ACORN. House Resolution 426 is on the House calendar and awaiting an up or down vote.
Rep. Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Member Site: SteveBarrar.com
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
House Republican Public Relations
Caucus Site: PAHouseGOP.com