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Toomey slams Schumer over massive NYC housing funding

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Pennsylvania’s Sen. Pat Toomey, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, issued a warning over the possibility that an excess $40 billion in the proposed reconciliation package will go to New York City’s public housing authority. 

The Democrats’ $1.7 trillion to $2.2 trillion budget reconciliation bill doesn’t have the sufficient votes to be passed and this funding jackpot for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) home state could become a focal point in the debate between the GOP and the Dems.

Toomey was enraged upon discovery that a clause in the legislation would give secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge full authority to determine where the majority of the funding goes.

“Why does the bill have $80 billion? It just so happens the New York City Housing Authority wanted $40 billion all for itself but our Democratic colleagues knew they couldn’t very well pass a bill that sent 100 percent of that money to New York City — it might be a bit of a problem for the 48 Democrat senators who don’t represent New York City,” Toomey said at a recent Banking Committee hearing.

“Certainly looks a lot like Sen. Schumer securing a $40 billion earmark. Or should we call it the Schu-mark? “It looks like half of all the bill’s public housing dollars will go to a housing authority plagued by scandals, bribery and chronic mismanagement,” Toomey added.

Back in April, Schumer asked Biden to raise the funding for New York’s deteriorating housing infrastructure, insisting that the earlier proposed $40 billion budget will leave very little for his state if spread across the United States.

“For far too long, our public housing infrastructure needs have been left unaddressed, left to get worse, and have brought serious harm to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Public housing residents, and NYCHA residents in particular, are in need for some real help, and this, right now, is a now-or-never moment,” Schumer said.

Although it is understandable that New York City public housing buildings require a lot of improvement, Toomey fears that the massive amount of funds will be misused by a city housing authority that owns a string of negative records. 

According to a 2017 report by New York City’s Department of Investigation found “a culture of misconduct, employee mistreatment and favoritism” within the NYCHA. Moreover, a 2018 lawsuit by attorney Geoffrey Berman against the housing authority, accused officials of covering up the dismal living conditions of low-income tenants.

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