On April 8, just about an hour before a government shutdown would have taken effect, House and Senate leaders agreed on FY11 top line spending levels. This agreement followed a week of negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and President Barack Obama.
Federal agencies, anticipating a shutdown, had spent days preparing staff and constituents regarding shutdown procedures. HUD held a flurry of conference calls for advocates on April 8, describing HUD’s minimal operations during a shutdown and the impacts that the halt in program administration would have on low income households.
Once agreement on top line spending cuts had been reached Friday night, the House and Senate also agreed to pass another Continuing Resolution (CR) to gain an additional week, through April 15, to determine how the cuts will be allocated. The Senate passed the CR late Friday night, the House passed it early Saturday morning and the President signed the CR into law Saturday afternoon. The Office of Management and Budget instructed federal agencies to continue operations during this gap in time between the expiration of the last CR and the execution of the current CR.
This latest CR cuts $2 billion from non-defense discretionary programs funding housing and transportation. Two HUD programs, the Public Housing Operating Fund and the Community Development Fund, are cut below their FY10 funding levels. The Public Housing Operating Fund was cut $149 million, or 3%, to $4.6 billion. The Community Development Fund was cut by $220 million, eliminating funding for the Economic Development Initiative (an earmark), Neighborhood Initiative and the University Communities Fund.
This brings the total cuts achieved through the last three CRs to $12 billion below FY10 spending levels.
The agreement reached Friday reportedly cuts $37.7 billion below the President’s FY11 budget. A week ago, it was rumored that the leaders had agreed to $33 billion in cuts. Speaker Boehner never publically acknowledged this agreement as he worked to gain votes within his party for any spending deal lower than H.R.1 and one that did not including policy riders.
The main policy riders that House Republicans pressured the Senate to include in the spending bill are not included in the final agreement, though some lower profile policy riders are expected to be included. Speaker Boehner acquiesced to the Senate’s refusal to include policy changes in this bill after exacting an agreement that the Senate will hold separate votes on the policy provisions regarding the Environmental Protection Agency regulatory powers and federal funding for women’s health.
Following the Friday night deal, House and Senate Appropriations chairs Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Representative Daniel Inouye (D-HI) worked through the weekend to negotiate what departments and programs would be cut to achieve this top line figure. Nearly half of the cuts, $17.8 billion, will come from mandatory spending. An across the board cut of $1.1 billion for all non-defense discretionary programs was also agreed to by House and Senate leaders. The remaining approximately $19 billion will be cut from non-defense discretionary programs, according to several sources.
Mr. Rogers is expected to release the plan for allocating these cuts on Monday. The House is expected to vote on a bill on Wednesday.
The House and Senate are expected to agree to the program funding levels negotiated this weekend and pass a bill by April 15, the expiration of the latest CR. While FY11 funding levels appear to have been settled, this high level of dissonance is expected to continue as the House and Senate negotiate FY12 spending levels.
On April 8, NLIHC joined with the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) in issuing a joint statement on the need for continued funding for public housing programs in the FY11 budget.
To view the joint statement on public housing funding, visit http://nlihc.org/detail/article.cfm?article_id=7811&id=48