Congress returns to the Capitol today (June 6) to continue negotiations over a fiscal year (FY) 2023 spending bill and a significantly scaled-down reconciliation package, among other legislative priorities. Before leaving for their Memorial Day recess (see Memo, 5/31), Senate Democrats reported meaningful progress on reaching a potential outline for a revived reconciliation package, renewing hope that congressional Democrats will be able to enact a reconciliation bill this year.
Over the last few weeks, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) have held several one-on-one meetings to discuss what a new reconciliation package might look like, scaled down from the original $1.75 trillion in investments in the stalled “Build Back Better Act.” Senator Manchin maintains that any reconciliation package should focus on increasing federal revenues by changing the tax code and using new revenues to fight inflation, address climate change, draw down the federal deficit, and reduce prescription drug costs. The cost of housing is the single largest component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key measure of inflation, and addressing the rising cost of housing is central to decreasing inflationary pressure on households, especially in the long term.
Democratic lawmakers are aiming to reach an agreement on a reconciliation outline by July 4 and to finalize legislative text and move the package through both the House and Senate before Congress adjourns for August recess on August 8. This condensed timeline leaves only a couple weeks to weigh in with Congress on the necessity of including robust, targeted affordable housing investments in any reconciliation package.
NLIHC is hosting a national call-in day and Twitterstorm on June 7 at 1 pm ET to urge Congress to include NLIHC’s top priorities in any reconciliation package:
- $25 billion to expand rental assistance to more than 300,000 households. See how many vouchers your state would receive here.
- $65 billion to make critically needed repairs to public housing and preserve this valuable asset for its 2 million residents.
- $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes. See NLIHC’s breakdown of how much each state would receive through the Housing Trust Fund here.
Email, tweet, and call your representatives on June 7 and urge them to include these once-in-a-generation housing investments targeted to ensure people with the lowest incomes have a safe, quality, affordable, and accessible place to call home. Use NLIHC’s call-in script and advocacy toolkit to help create your own message to Congress!
Budget reconciliation – which allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes usually required in the chamber – represents the best opportunity to enact the bold, large-scale investments in affordable housing needed to address the severe lack of deeply affordable rental homes. However, the annual appropriations process is also vital to ensuring continued and expanded funding for HUD’s affordable housing programs.
Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) intends to convene appropriations leaders in the House and Senate – including Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and House Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) – to continue negotiations over topline spending numbers for the fiscal year (FY) 2023 spending package. Appropriations leaders hope to avoid a significant delay in enacting a final bill after the FY22 bill stalled for almost six months.
With Chair Leahy and Ranking Member Shelby both slated to retire at the end of the year, members are feeling optimistic they will be able to find a compromise and enact an omnibus spending package for FY23. Even without an agreement on topline funding numbers, appropriators in the House will likely move forward with drafting FY23 spending bills, using President Biden’s FY23 budget request as a benchmark. House appropriators set a tentative schedule for Appropriations subcommittees to review and vote on their respective bills during the period June 13-22 and for a full committee review and vote during the period June 22-30.
NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are leading our annual 302(b) letter to demand that Congress provide the highest possible level of funding for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY23. Advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:
- $32.13 billion for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts and expand housing vouchers to an additional 200,000 households.
- $5.125 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to preserve public housing, and $5.06 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
- $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
- $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- $300 million for the competitive tribal housing program, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.