As the partial federal government shutdown approached week six and with the Senate voting but failing to pass either of two competing funding bills on January 24, President Trump announced on the following day, January 25, that an agreement had been reached to temporarily reopen the federal government for three weeks. The stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, would end the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history and give legislators time to negotiate a larger spending deal and border security. The bipartisan deal passed in the House and Senate and was signed by the president.
With the reopening of the government, HUD now has three weeks to start renewing rental assistance contracts, ensure homeless service providers receive delayed funding grants, and fund both public housing operations and Housing Choice Vouchers. USDA will be able to renew rental assistance and approve loans. Three weeks will not be enough time, however, for HUD and USDA to address the backlog of work that piled up during the shutdown. Congress must pass full-year spending bills that provide robust funding for affordable housing and community development programs.
In response to President Trump’s announcement that the government would be reopened temporarily, NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel issued a statement:
“The shutdown was a disgrace, causing stress and hardship for our country’s lowest-income and most vulnerable people. Over time, we will learn the extent of the longer-term damage done to the programs that serve them and to what extent the damage can be remedied. With a short-term agreement to reopen the government, millions of low-income renters and housing providers can now breathe a sigh of relief.
“But governing in 3-week increments is unacceptable.… Congress and the Administration must immediately work together to enact the full-year spending bills that already have strong bipartisan support. Only with full-year spending bills will low-income renters have the security they deserve and will the programs that serve them have the assurance of the long-term funding they need to properly function.”
NLIHC and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding are circulating a national letter calling on Congress and the Trump Administration to pass full-year spending bills that ensure affordable housing and community development programs receive robust funding. Organizations and local government officials are encouraged to sign on.
Prior to the president’s announcement of a temporary spending deal, House Democrats passed both a stopgap funding bill that would fund the government through February 28 and a six-bill omnibus package (H.R. 648) based on previously negotiated spending levels that excluded funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Then, on January 24, Senate Republicans introduced an omnibus package based on the negotiated funding levels previously agreed upon, but which included several controversial provisions, including $5.7 billion requested by President Trump for a border wall. The bill also included three years of relief for immigrants previously covered under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – which President Trump attempted to end in 2017 until the courts intervened – in addition to several other controversial immigration and asylum changes and $12.7 billion in disaster aid. The proposal was unable to gain the support from Democrats needed to pass the bill with 60 votes.
The Senate also voted on a short-term funding proposal – which the House passed 237-187 earlier this month — that would have opened the government through February 8 and provide $14.2 billion in disaster aid. The Senate failed to approve that measure as well, but six Republican senators — Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Lamar Alexander (TN), Cory Gardner(CO), Johnny Isakson (GA), and Mitt Romney (UT) – voted to move the bill forward.
Organizations and local government officials are encouraged to sign onto a national letter calling on Congress and the Trump Administration to pass full-year spending bills that ensure affordable housing and community development programs receive robust funding.