As Congress approaches its December 11 deadline to pass an appropriations bill or a Continuing Resolution (CR), it is unclear whether a revised Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill will receive a vote on the Senate floor. Washington policy experts predict Congress will wrap THUD legislation into a larger omnibus spending bill that is likely being negotiated among Congressional leadership and the White House.
Unfortunately, THUD bills in the House and Senate have proposed severe funding cuts and harmful policy changes. As Congress pieces together an omnibus bill that includes HUD appropriations, we encourage you to urge your elected officials to:
- Oppose any raid on the National Housing Trust Fund to pay for any other program.
- Oppose the expansion of the Moving to Work demonstration without needed reforms.
- Fully fund the renewal of Housing Choice Vouchers at $18.05 billion, and provide $470 million for new vouchers for targeted populations.
- Provide $2.480 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program.
- Fully fund 12-month Project-Based Rental Assistance renewals at $10.826 billion.
- Provide at least $4.8 billion for the public housing operating fund and $2.5 billion for public housing capital fund.
- Fund HOME at $1.016 billion.
- Fund Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS at $335 million.
- Fund Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities at $177 million.
- Fund Section 202 Housing for the Elderly at $455 million.
- Fund Native American Housing Block Grants at $660 million.
- Oppose any provisions that prevent HUD from implementing Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.
- Oppose any efforts to limit the ability of HUD to serve refugees from any country.
- Oppose provisions that work against recent progress to expand access to HUD housing for returning prisoners.
History of THUD FY16 Spending Bills
Senate and House THUD bills have proposed drastic funding cuts and harmful policy changes. In June, the House passed a THUD bill that National Low Income Housing Coalition President Sheila Crowley described as a “disaster” and Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison believes “makes it impossible” to address the housing needs of even those currently being served by federal programs. The Senate THUD Subcommittee also approved a FY16 THUD spending bill over the summer that contained severe cuts. See MHP’s Sequestration Compliance Forces Drastic Cuts in Proposed 2016 HUD Budgets blog.
For months, Senate Democrats stalled consideration of the June THUD bill while negotiating for higher spending caps than those required by the Budget Control Act. Under the Bipartisan Budget Act passed in October, Congress agreed to raise spending caps. Accordingly, the Senate revised its THUD bill by increasing funding for HOME by $834 million, restoring HOME funding to $900 million and increasing funding for CDBG $100 million, which would restore funding to $3 billion. All other housing and community development programs were funded at identical levels.
The Senate was set to vote on amendments to its FY16 THUD funding bill the Friday before Congress’ Thanksgiving break but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pulled the bill from consideration after Senator Rand Paul (R - KY) offered an amendment that would ban new foreign refugees from receiving welfare assistance through programs funded in the THUD bill. As a result, the THUD debate in the Senate was postponed.