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FYI: Congress enters its final stages on next years’ funding bills in coming weeks, including that for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where several points of contention remain. Senators Paul Sarbanes (D-MD.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are trying to attach a “sense of the Senate” that would pressure HUD to spend all of the agency’s unspent money from previous fiscal years on Section 8 vouchers, which advocates have warned will be cut by tens of thousands by the bill as it stands. The House has already passed its version, but according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, New York Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez are lobbying both chambers’ leadership to add voucher funding. Meanwhile, advocates are also working to insert funding for energy cost assistance for poor households, which the Senate bill currently flat funds and the House bill cuts by $300 million, according to NLIHC. [10/14/03]