The Senate has agreed to negotiate with the House on the spending package that includes, among other things, the Senate’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) spending bill. The Senate bundled the THUD bill with the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) spending bill and funding to combat Zika into one bill, H.R. 2577, which it passed on May 19. The Senate failed to pass an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to increase military spending without a commensurate increase to non-defense spending.
When the House took up H.R. 2577, it stripped out the Senate language, including the THUD bill, and replaced it with its version of the MilCon-VA bill and response to Zika. The House passed its version of the bill on May 26. It is unclear if the Senate THUD bill will be included in the final negotiated version of H.R. 2577, though it appears unlikely. It is also uncertain when the House might take up its version of the THUD spending bill on the House floor.
As the Senate debated the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator McCain offered an amendment that would have violated the 2015 bipartisan budget agreement, which requires parity between defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) program funding. Senator McCain’s amendment would boost the Department of Defense’s budget by $18 billion, pulled from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.
The Obama Administration released a Statement of Administration Policy that warned the Senate against breaking the budget agreement’s parity principle. The Administration states, “As the [NDAA] is considered by the Senate, it is critical that the Congress adhere to the principle that any increase in funding must be shared equally between defense and non-defense – a central tenet of last fall's budget agreement.”
NLIHC joined a coalition of partner organizations on a letter urging senators to oppose the McCain amendment. The letter states, “The $18 billion proposed by the McCain amendment could be used to fund many domestic programs in need of support, such as the HUD proposal to end family homelessness ($11 billion over 10 years) which would provide subsidies to 550,000 more families.”
The Senate failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate on the McCain amendment, and it was therefore not adopted. The final vote was 56-42.
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) offered another amendment that would provide equal funds from the OCO account to NDD programs. That amendment would provide $3.2 billion for programs that address infrastructure needs, including the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The Senate failed to adopt the Reed amendment by a vote of 43-55.
Read the Statement of Administration Policy at: http://1.usa.gov/1tfbCma
Read the coalition letter opposing the McCain amendment at: http://bit.ly/1UnJmDv