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Additional View of Ron Paul on the Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act

Additional View of Ron Paul on the Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act
December 1997

(J. Bradley Jansen was Ron Paul’s legislative staffer on these issues at this time)


Despite the lofty ideals and good intentions of the supporters of this bill, the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services should oppose this legislation. No piece of paper issued by this body will solve the problem of homelessness in this country. No amount of hyperbole by politicians in Washington will put a roof over someone’s head. This body should focus on the job it was assigned.

When I was sworn in as a U.S. Congressman, I pledged to uphold the Constitution. This document detailed an agenda of limited government: Article One, Section 8 (the enumerated powers clause) and the ninth and tenth amendments (reserving to the states and people those powers not specifically granted to the federal government). A careful reading of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence make the unconstitutional
status of this vast expansion of federal powers easy to discern.

H.R. 217, the Homeless Housing Programs Consolidation and Flexibility Act, continues not only the expansion of federal powers beyond the bounds set by the Constitution but increases its unconstitutional expenditure to one billion dollars, a jump of over 20% from the current appropriation of other people’s money of $823 million.

The answer to the problem of homelessness will not be found in Federal government programs. Indeed, previous expenditures to fund an increasing number of expanding programs has not solved the problem. Yet the problem remains-to listen to the supporters of this bill who call for ever-increasing funding for programs that have not worked, the problem is actually worsening.

I applaud the efforts of Representative Jim Ryun who tried to limit the fiscal irresponsibility of the bill. The eloquent and reasoned defense by Representative Jesse Jackson of the ability of local officials to handle a problem more effectively than Federal bureaucrats deserves to be commended. We should rely on ourselves, families, churches and private charities first, turning to government only as a last resort-even then, the best option is for local control with local financing.