The Book of Ron Paul
1997 Ron Paul Chapter 26

Housing Opportunity and Responsibility Act of 1997

1 May 1997

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Congressional Record (Page H2127)   Cached

Mr Chariman. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

1997 Ron Paul 26:1
Mr. PAUL. The amendment offered by the gentleman from Illinois, I think, raises some very interesting ideas. The point being, how do you protect civil liberties once somebody accepts welfare?

1997 Ron Paul 26:2
And this is not unique to just public housing, because in many ways this happens in our public schools. Public schools, we go there, but we still want to protect our civil liberties and we can’t overly dictate, and yet we have rules and regulations. Although I think these points are very important that you bring up, I am inclined not to support your amendment, but I think they are worth talking about.

1997 Ron Paul 26:3
One, I think the point about the other recipients of the welfare in the housing program is very important. Last week there was a rumor going around that I might introduce legislation that would repeal all of HUD, which would be a proper, good economic position and a proper constitutional position. And I had a lot of phone calls, but none came from the poor people. All came from the wealthy people, those who were receiving $850 rents for $400 houses, those who get to build the buildings, those who are the contractors and those who do the financing. They’re very interested in this project.

1997 Ron Paul 26:4
I think you have a very good point. If we are going to punish people receiving welfare or have requirements, put the requirements on the others as well. I think this is very legitimate. But I think the idea of civil liberties, the whole notion here, the definition, has been distorted, because the one thing I think so many people forget, we should have concern about the civil liberties of those in a housing development.

1997 Ron Paul 26:5
For one, I think I have seen great danger about the abuse of the Fourth Amendment when it comes to the tenement houses, where they can go in without the proper issuing of a search warrant. I think that is very, very bad and seems like maybe that would put me over the line and say we should not permit this, just because they belong, or they are living in Government housing. That should not allow us to say they have sacrificed their protections.

1997 Ron Paul 26:6
So I think this is important. But there are some civil liberties also of others that we have not discussed at all, because we’re talking about the protection of the civil liberties of those who are receiving a house. What about the person who is paying for the house? It is assumed by so many that the wealthy are paying for these houses, but under our very regressive tax system, if we look at the amount of money the poor people pay through FICA, they are the ones who are paying. The wealthy do not pay the taxes.

1997 Ron Paul 26:7
So the poor individual, the low, middle income, the individual who is capable of still taking care of himself, is hurt the most by what we do here in the Congress. Whether it is public housing or the deficit or our monetary system, these are the individuals who are hurt and are pushed aside. But they’are losing their homes because we are pretending to do good to others and provide houses for them. So we should be concerned about their civil liberties as well, but it seems like we forget that.

1997 Ron Paul 26:8
But this whole notion about work condition, how many people can stay in a room, the search and seizures, I think these are very, very important and should not be ignored. But again we should not ignore the civil liberties of those who had to work and pay for these houses because quite frankly I think we should ask the question.

1997 Ron Paul 26:9
It is assumed by so many that we have a constitutional, natural right to a house. That is not in
Mr. JACKSON. Will the gentleman yield?

1997 Ron Paul 26:10
Mr. PAUL. the Constitution. I will in one moment, please. We have a right to our liberty, we have a right to our life, we have a right to pursue our happiness, and we ought to have the right to keep what we own. So think of the civil liberties of those who suffer when you take.

1997 Ron Paul 26:11
But I agree that we should think of the benefits accrued to the welfare recipients and what kind of conditions you have, but I think we should think about the benefits accrued to the businessman who really is benefiting from these programs as well.

1997 Ron Paul 26:12
Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

1997 Ron Paul 26:13
Mr. PAUL. I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.

1997 Ron Paul 26:14
Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I appreciate the spirit of his critique. I would like to make the argument, however, that my amendment specifically addresses condition of occupancy. Are we prepared to put people who live in public housing, evict them for failure to volunteer 8 hours a month? I would appreciate the gentleman’s answer to that.

1997 Ron Paul 26:15
Mr. PAUL. Yes; and I have great sympathy for the gentleman. It is just I believe that some conditions do exist in everything we do in Government. You do not go into a public school without conditions. You can’t come in there and be disruptive, or you get thrown out. So if there are conditions, you come in, and the contract is the person who accepts the housing comes in, voluntarily accepting Government housing under the conditions that they will do A, B, and C.

1997 Ron Paul 26:16
Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Will the gentleman yield?

1997 Ron Paul 26:17
Mr. PAUL. Yes, I’ll be glad to yield.

1997 Ron Paul 26:18
Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I just wonder, given the formulation that the gentleman has made about the responsibilities of individuals and of Government, is it his contention, would you support an amendment that would suggest that anybody, for instance, that gets benefit from the Eximbank or FmHA, that those individuals have a responsibility as a term and condition of those loans and of those programs to volunteer as well, or is it just the members of public housing?

1997 Ron Paul 26:19
The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. PAUL] has expired.
(On request of Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts, and by unanimous consent, Mr. Paul was allowed to proceed for 30 additional seconds.)

1997 Ron Paul 26:20
I think that would be a very good suggestion. Seeing that I think the Export-Import Bank is welfare for the very wealthy businessman, I think the conditions would be very good.

1997 Ron Paul 26:21
Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts. I would like to perhaps work with the gentleman from Texas [Mr. PAUL] on these kinds of issues.

1997 Ron Paul 26:22
Mr. PAUL. I will think about that and think about the ramifications, but I certainly will consider it.

1997 Ron Paul 26:23
Mr. KENNEDY of Massachusetts. Oh, now don’t back off now.

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