Appropriators Near Final FY24 Spending Deal for HUD – Take Action!

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations subcommittees – including House Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Senate Subcommittee Chair Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) – announced on February 16 that they had reached a deal on final fiscal year (FY) 2024 funding levels for HUD’s vital housing and homelessness programs.

“We’ve reached an agreement on the numbers, the distribution inside the bill, the community funding projects and priorities,” Chair Cole told reporters. Appropriators have been working to reconcile differences between the House and Senate draft THUD spending bills, which propose 10% and 13% increases to HUD’s budget, respectively. However, neither bill provides sufficient funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) contracts upon turnover. Under the Senate bill, an estimated 80,000 vouchers would be lost, and under the House bill, 112,000 vouchers would be lost. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published a blog post with a state-by-state estimate of the vouchers that would be lost under each proposal. 

The announcement comes ahead of a two-week long House recess; members of both the House and Senate will be out of their DC offices next week, with the Senate members returning on February 26 and the House members on February 28. Members have only until March 1 – just three days after the House reconvenes – to finalize and enact four FY24 appropriations bills, including the THUD bill. The remaining eight bills will expire on March 8.

While agreements over funding levels have been reached, the bill text has yet to be released because disagreements over policies that should be included in the funding bill remain, as members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus (HFC) continue pushing for conservative policy riders to be included in final FY24 spending bills. Chair Cole noted decisions on policy riders would be left up to congressional leadership. Funding for HUD’s programs is currently set to expire on March 1, at which point Congress will need to pass a final bill, enact another continuing resolution, or face a partial government shutdown.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) held a meeting on February 14 with Republican appropriations leaders and HFC members to discuss the HFC’s continued advocacy for the addition of controversial amendments known as “poison pill” policy riders. In appropriations, “poison pill” riders are controversial, often partisan policies that would not pass legislative muster as stand-alone legislation but that can be added as amendments to “must-pass” legislation – like an annual appropriations bill – and become enacted. Members of the HFC have been pushing Speaker Johnson and appropriators to include several deeply conservative “poison pill” riders as part of the final FY24 spending bills. Adding these riders to appropriations bills would either force moderate Republicans and Democrats to vote through the amendments to keep the government funded or sink the spending bills altogether and cause a government shutdown.

However, during the February 14 meeting, Appropriations Committee leaders – including Chair Cole and former THUD Subcommittee Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), as well as Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Robert Aderholt (R-AL) – made clear to their HFC colleagues that they should “drop” their push for the riders. With an extremely narrow Republican majority in the House and Democrats in control of the Senate, final FY24 spending bills will need to have bipartisan support to pass. Adding “poison pill” riders to sink the bills and cause a shutdown would be “idiotic” and “only hurt House Republicans,” the leaders argued.

Your Advocacy is Working – Keep Up the Fight!

Your advocacy makes a difference! It is thanks to the hard work of advocates that – at a time when programs faced cuts of up 25% – HUD received increased funding in both the House and Senate FY24 proposals. But the fight isn’t over!  

Congress needs to keep hearing from you about the importance of affordable housing and homelessness programs! NLIHC is calling on Congress to provide in this year’s budget:

  • Full funding to renew all existing contracts for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
  • Increased funding for public housing operations and repairs.
  • At minimum, the Senate’s proposed $3.9 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants.
  • The protection of $20 million in funding for the Eviction Prevention Grant Program provided in the Senate bill.
  • The House’s proposed $1.1 billion for Native Housing.

Advocates can continue to engage their members of Congress by:

  • Emailing or calling members’ offices to tell them about the importance of affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources to you, your family, your community, or your work. You can use NLIHC’s Take Action page to look up your member offices, or call/send an email directly!
  • Using social media to amplify messages about the country’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis, and the continued need for long-term solutions.
  • Sharing stories of those directly impacted by homelessness and housing instability. Storytelling adds emotional weight to your message, and can help lawmakers see how their policy decisions impact actual people. Learn about how to tell compelling stories with this resource.

National, state, local, tribal, and territorial organizations can also join over 2,200 organizations on CHCDF’s national letter calling on Congress to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24.