With only two days to spare before the deadline, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term continuing resolution (CR), set at Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels, on September 28. The CR will keep the federal government funded through December 9, and the measure now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
The CR passed in the Senate by a vote of 72 to 26 and in the House by a vote of 342 to 85. Lawmakers were able to reach a deal after weeks of negotiations. One of the biggest stumbling blocks was disagreement over whether and how to provide aid to Flint, Michigan to address the city’s lead-tainted water system. In the end, Congress agreed to authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects.
When discussing the CR on the Senate floor, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, stated, “Is it perfect? No. Is it acceptable? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.”
“This short time frame will allow Congress to complete our annual appropriations work without jeopardizing important government functions,” said House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY).
To fit under spending caps required by the Budget Control Act, the CR includes a half percent across-the-board cut to funding levels with a number of exceptions.
The measure also includes $500 million in emergency funding to help flood victims in Louisiana and other states. The White House had requested $2.6 billion in Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant funds and urges Congress to provide more aid to help flood victims when Congress returns after the November elections.
The White House and Congress now have until December 9 to either negotiate another CR or enact full FY17 appropriations bills. NLIHC strongly urges Congress to enact full-year FY17 spending bills for HUD and USDA as soon as possible. A long-term CR that extends into 2017 could cause thousands of families to lose access to stable housing and puts vital investments in affordable housing at risk