The Trump administration submitted its latest disaster supplemental request to Congress on November 17. The White House is requesting $44 billion in emergency aid, including $25.2 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Program and Small Business Administration (SBA) programs, $12 billion in CDBG-DR flood mitigation funding, $1 billion in emergency agricultural assistance, $1.2 billion for an education recovery fund, $4.6 billion for repair or replacement of damaged federal property, and smaller amounts for other priorities.
The Administration’s request proposes limiting the $12 billion in CDBG-DR funding to flood mitigation projects, stating that these projects would be awarded competitively to states and territories that had more than one flood-related major disaster declaration in the past four years. This requirement likely leaves out California for CDBG-DR funding to repair homes damaged or destroyed by the California wildfires, and would also preclude communities from using the funding for housing priorities outside of flood mitigation. To respond to the wildfires in California, the White House is requesting only tax relief provisions that mirror those provided after the recent hurricanes, including deductions for casualty losses, penalty-free access to retirement accounts, employment relief, and charitable giving incentives, among others.
The White House requests $4.3 million for USDA’s Rural Housing Insurance Fund to provide rehabilitation loans to rural multifamily housing developments and proposes legislative language to allow HUD to specify alternative environmental review requirements for single-family homes built outside of the floodplain and to expedite the recovery.
The White House proposes to offset this emergency funding with further cuts to domestic programs by continuing the low and harmful spending caps on non-defense mandatory programs for another two years. View the full Administration request here.
When Congress returns to Washington after the Thanksgiving break, their top priority will continue to be tax reform legislation. Congress will likely take up the disaster supplemental in early to mid-December. Given the limited number of days that remain in this year’s Congressional calendar, it is becoming increasingly likely that a disaster supplemental will be attached to a bill to extend the FY18 Continuing Resolution, which expires on December 8, or a final appropriations bill.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition will continue urging Congress to provide more robust recovery resources to impacted communities, as well as other needed policy changes to ensure a just, equitable and complete housing recovery for the lowest income people and communities. The full set of disaster housing recovery recommendations can be found here.