The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, whose jurisdiction includes U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural affordable housing programs, voted on its FY18 spending bill. The draft bill adheres to a discretionary allocation of $20 billion—$876 million below the enacted FY17 allocation and $4.64 billion above President Trump’s budget request.
While the Subcommittee’s bill rejects President Trump’s proposal to eliminate or severely cut funding for rural housing and development programs, these programs would still see their funding significantly reduced from FY17 spending levels. Several members noted that these programs warrant growth, not bare-minimum investments. The bill would provide:
- $1.345 billion to renew rental assistance contracts for low income families and elderly members of rural communities. This is almost a $60 million decrease from FY17. This is the same amount of funding proposed by President Trump. It is unclear whether this is sufficient to cover all existing contracts.
- $900 million in direct loans to low income rural families seeking homeownership. This is a $100 million decrease from FY17.
- $24 billion in loan authority for the Single-Family Housing guaranteed loan program. This amount is unchanged from FY17.
- $34.65 million for the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, or about half of the FY17 allocation.
During the vote, Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) criticized the FY18 appropriations process. “There is no budget, no plan to adjust the inadequate spending caps or the harmful sequester,” she said. “The American people deserve more than this dysfunction. Let’s cut the charade. Let’s get to work on a responsible bipartisan process.” (see Memo 6/26.)
Read the text of the proposed bill at: http://bit.ly/2tq26R3
Watch the hearing at: http://bit.ly/2unUKK1