House appropriators expect to introduce a $1.3 trillion omnibus FY18 spending bill as early as March 15. The omnibus includes all 12 spending bills for the current fiscal that started on October 1, 2017. The Senate may include an expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and important improvements to the program as part of its omnibus spending bill. The expansion and improvements were originally proposed by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in the “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016” (S. 548). The changes would address the growing housing affordability crisis in America by expanding the Housing Credit program by 50% and making changes that would allow the program to serve more extremely low income households.
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees had to rewrite many of the bills after a budget deal passed in early February. The budget deal increased spending limits by $143 billion, $63 billion of which is for nondefense discretionary programs. House Transportation-HUD Subcommittee Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) stated that his committee has finalized their bill, but several other subcommittees face disagreements on policy and funding issues. Congress will need to pass a FY18 spending bill by March 23 to avoid another continuing resolution.