BUILDING BUDGET SUPPORT

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FYI: The Bush administration trumpeted a handful of funding increases for housing construction programs yesterday–part of its ongoing effort to counter Democratic attacks on its tax-cut plan as damaging to domestic programs. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez said in a speech before the National Association of Home Builders that the president’s 2004 budget will request an additional $112 million, or five percent increase, for HOME Investment Partnership Program, which aids localities in buying land and financing the construction of affordable housing. The increase will raise the program’s budget to $2.2 billion, $221 million of which will go to New York. Martinez also said the president will ask for an additional $200 million for a program that aids low-income first-time home buyers and $2 million for research on cutting “regulatory barriers” to the construction of affordable housing. [1/23/03]