A House panel, led by Republicans, recommended cutting $1 billion in funding for a program that was created to assist nonprofit organizations and local governments in fixing and reselling foreclosed properties.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program was created to help stabilize battered neighborhoods that faced high numbers of foreclosures.

While Republicans voted to endorse removing the funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Democrats strongly objected to the move and asked for further examination on whether the cuts were really necessary.

The House Financial Services Committee voted to endorse the cut as part of the committee's list of priorities for the next two years, but lawmakers agreed to further study whether the program should be ended before completely terminating it.

Democrats had argued during the hearing that the program has helped many neighborhoods across the county that were hard-hit by the economic downturn and soaring foreclosures.

It's the least we can do to help families, to help neighborhoods, Rep. Maxine Waters, D.-Calif., said during the hearing.

However, with the pressing need to control the nation’s skyrocketing debt, every single program has to be looked at, said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R.-Texas. Now is the time to take the debt seriously.

Source: “House Panel Recommends Cutting $1B From HUD Program,” Dow Jones International News (Feb. 10, 2011)