The House and Senate head into a 7-week recess starting Monday, July 18 and running through the Labor Day weekend. Many Congressional members will be attending their party conventions. The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland July 18-21, and the Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia July 25-28. Congress is scheduled to go on recess again from October 10 to November 11 to allow Congressional members to focus on their election campaigns.
This extended Congressional recess presents affordable housing advocates with an excellent opportunity to engage their members of Congress while they are in their state or district. Advocates should invite their members of Congress to visit affordable housing developments financed with federal resources and meet with low income residents. Advocates should also participate in town hall events and set up individual meetings with their Congressional members or their staff.
When Congress returns to DC on September 6, it will have just 19 legislative days to enact its 2017 spending bills or pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) before the new fiscal year begins on October 1 to avert a government shutdown. Most expect at least a short-term CR to keep the government open through the November elections. However, the House Freedom Caucus and other House conservatives are urging their leadership to enact a 6-month CR to fund the government through early 2017. Democrats and members of the Appropriations Committees from both parties oppose the passage of a CR that would extend beyond December.
NLIHC and other advocates agree that a long-term CR would be problematic for federal affordable housing programs because it could result in spending levels below what Congress agreed to last fall. A new budget is needed to ensure rental assistance programs do not experience significant funding shortfalls. A six-month CR would put off decisions about FY 2017 spending to early spring, when Congress will need to turn its attention to FY 2018 and the renewed threat of sequestration requiring tightened budget caps.
See the Congressional calendar at: http://bit.ly/1lHGt6t