The House plans to vote on the FY18 Transportation-HUD (THUD) spending bill in the first few days of September after members of Congress return from their month-long recess. The current plan is for the THUD bill to be combined with seven other domestic spending bills to form a larger package. Because of tight federal spending limits, the THUD bill would eliminate more than 140,000 housing vouchers and reduce flexible resources used by states and localities to build and preserve affordable homes and address community needs.
House members have until the end of August to submit proposed amendments to the Rules Committee, which will decide what amendments can be offered during debate of the spending package. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) may try to offer an amendment to prohibit HUD from implementing or enforcing its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and assessment tool, as he has done in the past. AFFH clarifies existing fair housing obligations and empowers states and local governments to more fairly and effectively invest federal funds in their communities. We will work to defeat this and other harmful amendments to the THUD bill, should they arise.
Even if the House passes the spending package, the Senate is unlikely to consider the bill. Because of the low domestic spending levels and conservative policy riders in the House spending bills, Democrats are expected to oppose them. Without some Democratic support, the Senate does not have the 60 votes it needs to approve the spending bills. The Senate continues to work on its spending bills, which exceed the Budget Control Act caps. This sets the stage for bipartisan negotiations. Congress and the administration will need to reach an agreement on final FY18 spending bills – or enact a short-term Continuing Resolution – before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 or risk a government shutdown.
Given the limited time remaining before the start of the next fiscal year, Congress will likely need to rely on at least one short term stopgap spending bill to keep the government open when FY18 begins on October 1.