The Senate passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, H.J. Res. 59, by a vote of 64 to 36 on December 18. All Democrats and Independents voted in favor, but only eight Republicans supported the measure. In contrast, the House-passed bill received significant Republican support and some opposition from Democrats (see Memo, 12/13).
The law establishes FY14 and FY15 spending levels, with FY14 spending at $1.012 trillion, approximately half way between the House’s budget resolution level of $967 billion and the Senate’s proposed level of $1.058 trillion. It also provides $63 billion in partial sequestration relief for the next two fiscal years, and reduces the deficit by $23 billion.
House Committee on Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senate Committee on Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are now negotiating a final set of 302(b) allocations for the twelve Appropriations Subcommittees. Subcommittee staff is expected to finalize spending bills during the Congressional recess. Chair Mikulski expects bills to be negotiated by January 2 in time for Congress to advance an omnibus appropriations bill the week of January 6.
NLIHC President Sheila Crowley sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittees on December 17 urging them to provide strong funding for HUD’s rental housing programs and to ensure that no housing units are lost due to the sequester. “NLIHC appreciates that Chairs and Ranking Members have stated in the past that it is a priority for the Subcommittees to maintain housing for currently assisted households; we urge to you live up to this past commitment by fully funding all rental units available for extremely low income households in FY14,” wrote Ms. Crowley.
Leaders of five national organizations working to end homelessness wrote a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committees on December 18, urging increased appropriations for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants and the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program. “More than a quarter of all renters pay in excess of 50% of their incomes on housing, while the scarcity of affordable units has worsened dramatically. Yet for two years in a row, Congress has not appropriated enough funding for Housing Choice Vouchers…,” wrote the organizations.
When Congress returns in 2014, it is expected to immediately advance the FY14 omnibus appropriations package to meet the deadline of January 15 when the continuing resolution (CR) currently funding the government expires. The Senate is scheduled to resume session on January 6 and the House is scheduled to return on January 7.