Congress Running Out of Time to Fund Federal Government

Congress has only a few days to reach an agreement to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY19 and avoid a government shutdown before the current stop-gap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), expires on December 21. A CR carries forward funding levels from the previous year. Congress has failed to enact several federal spending bills for FY19, including those that fund affordable housing and community development programs. The main issue preventing lawmakers from reaching a year-long spending deal is President Donald Trump’s insistence that any agreement includes $5 billion for a southern border wall, which Democrats strongly oppose.

Lawmakers have discussed several options to resolve the impasse. One would be for Congress to pass another CR that would run into the new calendar year. Another option would be for Congress to pass six of the seven remaining spending bills (including those for Transportation-HUD and USDA) that have already been negotiated and agreed upon and then pass a CR for the Homeland Security spending bill that has proven to be the most controversial since it includes funding for the border wall. A final option floated by some lawmakers is to pass a year-long CR through September 30, 2019, for all the outstanding spending bills.

A year-long CR would put thousands of families at risk of losing access to stable housing. For FY19, HUD needs approximately $1.3 billion and USDA needs at least $10 million more than FY18 appropriations to maintain current program levels and renew existing housing assistance contracts. A year-long CR at FY18 levels would result in deep cuts to critical housing programs that could cause thousands of families and children to lose access to stable housing, putting them at increased risk of homelessness. Both the House and Senate proposed bills for HUD that would increase resources to help provide affordable, stable, and accessible housing for more seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and people experiencing homelessness.

Call your lawmakers to urge them to enact clean, full-year FY19 spending bills for HUD and USDA.