Two amendments concerning the NHTF were offered during the House of Representatives debate on its FY15 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations bill (H.R. 4745) on June 9 and 10 (see related article elsewhere in Memo).
An amendment offered by Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) to prohibit any FY15 funds appropriated for HUD to be used to administer the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) passed by a voice vote. Although the NHTF is to be funded by dedicated sources not subject to appropriations, the program is to be managed by HUD, which will distribute NHTF funds as block grants to states.
If the Royce language is not removed during THUD conference negotiations between the House and the Senate, any funds directed to the NHTF in FY15 could not be administered by HUD.
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt may lift the temporary suspension on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s obligation to provide funds to the NHTF in 2014 (see Memo, 6/6). NLIHC will work with Senators to make sure the Royce language is removed when House and Senate members meet in conference to resolve differences between their respective appropriations bills.
Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) offered and withdrew an amendment that would have incorporated his Common Sense Housing Investment Act (H.R. 1213) into the FY15 THUD bill. H.R. 1213 includes the United for Homes campaign’s proposed changes to the mortgage interest deduction and requires that the majority of revenue raised by the changes go to the NHTF. In his floor statement, Mr. Ellison said that existing appropriations for HUD programs fall short of meeting the needs of all households that are eligible for HUD assistance, saying, “If this budget passes we still only will provide housing assistance to 1 in 4 households that are eligible.” Mr. Ellison stressed that additional revenue for affordable housing outside of the appropriations process is necessary to supplement the limited discretionary funds made available through appropriations. Mr. Ellison withdrew the amendment without debate because he knew the amendment would be subject to a point of order since it would change existing law.