The House and Senate Conference Committee on appropriations for HUD, rural housing and the Census continued to meet through the week of November 7. The committee is negotiating H.R. 2112, the minibus appropriations bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD), S. 1596; Agriculture, Rural Housing, and Food and Drug Administration, H.R. 2112; and the Commerce, Justice, and Science, H.R. 2596 (see Memo, 11/4). A final bill is expected early in the week of November 14. The House will take it up first and send it to the Senate. It is expected that the bill will be passed by November 18.
Conferees are reportedly working with an additional $300 million to allocate to T-HUD, though it is not clear how much of that funding would be applied to HUD’s programs and how much would be applied to transportation. House T-HUD Subcommittee Chair Tom Latham (R-IA) said in a statement he expected the conference committee to increase funding for Tenant Based Rental Assistance and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers.
The House T-HUD Subcommittee bill and Senate bill would underfund housing programs that serve extremely low income (ELI) households, including Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) contract renewals, which could result in the loss of up to 40,000 vouchers (see Memo, 11/4). Both bills would also underfund Project Based Rental Assistance contract renewals, forcing HUD to either discontinue some contracts or issue partial year renewals for all contracts. Both bills would include severe cuts to the Public Housing Capital Fund, potentially leading to the loss of tens of thousands of public housing units. Numerous additional HUD programs would be cut by both the House and Senate bills.
For rural housing, the House Agriculture bill would significantly cut the Rural Rental Assistance Section 521 program, which could cause tens of thousands of households to lose their rental assistance. The Senate bill would cut the program slightly. The House and Senate bills both significantly cut the Rural Rental Housing Section 515 program.
NLIHC sent a letter to conferees urging them to increase funding in the final bill for the Tenant Based Rental Assistance, Project Base Rental Assistance, Public Housing Capital Fund, Section 521 Rental Assistance, and Section 515 Rental Housing accounts. NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley wrote, “I urge you to protect households with extremely low incomes, who will be most impacted by any funding cuts from Congress. I look forward to Congress passing a spending package that meets this goal.”
NLIHC also joined 43 other members of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) in sending a letter to conferees urging them to increase the allocation for HUD programs in the final T-HUD portion of the bill. “To protect these families and communities served by HUD programs, we strongly urge you to increase funding for HUD programs above the levels in the House and Senate bills. To protect families and communities served by Rural Housing programs, we strongly urge you to adopt at least the Senate funding level and preferably the President’s requested level for the aforementioned programs,” wrote CHCDF members.
Funding for discretionary programs is authorized currently by a continuing resolution (CR), because Congress did not pass its appropriations bills prior to the October 1 start of the fiscal year. The current CR expires on November 18. Congress is expected to attach another CR to H.R. 2112 that will last until through mid-December.
View NLIHC’s letter at: http://nlihc.org/doc/NLIHC_THUD_Rural_conferees_Ltr_11-10-11.pdf
View the CHCDF letter at: http://nlihc.org/doc/CHCDF_THUD_Rural_conference_Ltr_11-7-11.pdf