Raleigh Housing Authority/hudby Representative George Holding
Posted on 2014-01-15
HOLDING. Mr. Speaker, at a time when the national debt is over
$17 trillion and growing by the second, the government continues to
borrow and spend money that we simply do not have. Each day that we do
not address this problem, the American people continue to lose faith in
Washington's ability to spend their tax dollars wisely.
Mr. Speaker, one of our jobs as Members of Congress is to provide aggressive oversight as to how our tax dollars [[Page H234]] are being spent by the Federal agencies. The American people already see the government take far too much of their hard-earned paychecks, and they have a right to know how these dollars are being spent.
People across the country are struggling to find jobs and make ends meet. Now, imagine how frustrating it is for them to find out that some public officials are making extravagant salaries and receiving overly generous compensation packages, partially funded by the very dollars that they, the taxpayers, are sending to Washington.
What kind of message does that send? It makes the public lose faith in their elected officials, and it is morally wrong.
Reports in the Raleigh News and Observer indicate that in my home State of North Carolina, the executive director of the Raleigh Housing Authority is paid over $280,000 annually and is also allowed to take up to 11 weeks of vacation and compensation time. The Raleigh Housing Authority is funded largely by Federal taxpayer dollars doled out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The practices at RHA certainly raise a red flag about how Federal dollars are being spent by local agencies. Last week, I requested a Federal audit of the RHA to make certain that they are adhering to the law. I also joined with Senator Chuck Grassley, who is a longtime advocate for oversight of public housing authorities, to send a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan requesting more answers and documentation regarding the questionable salary and compensation practices at the Raleigh Housing Authority.
HUD needs to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately by the RHA and housing authorities across the country. HUD funds are intended for affordable housing for those in need, not for excessive compensation packages.
The RHA needs to justify their compensation and salary practices. The audit should publicize how the RHA has spent Federal money, how much is wasted, and what and how it can do to eliminate further wasteful spending while continuing to fulfill its mission.
Mr. Speaker, government transparency at RHA is not just important to my home State of North Carolina but to all of our government agencies. We are already spending Federal money at an unsustainable rate, and we need to eliminate areas where taxpayer dollars are being abused. If we do not ensure government transparency and cut wasteful spending, we will not only lose the faith of the American people completely, but our economy will continue to spiral downward.