Even while adjourned for August recess, leaders in Congress have continued discussions over fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations, including how to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have reportedly agreed that a short-term spending measure – known as a continuing resolution (CR) – will be necessary to keep the federal government funded until at least early December, giving members of Congress more time to reach a final agreement on an FY24 spending bill.
CRs maintain the previously appropriated year’s level of funding for federal programs for a specified period of time. Because the cost of housing and development rises every year, it is crucial that HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs receive increased annual appropriations just to maintain the current number of people and communities served. Members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus (HFC) are inviting a shutdown and vowing to oppose a CR unless it includes drastic cuts to spending and other harmful provisions that would not pass the Senate. HFC members are still strategizing on how to exact even steeper funding cuts from the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget, after pressuring Republican leaders in the House to write FY24 spending bills to roughly FY22 levels, which would result in cuts of more than $131 billion to domestic spending.
Thanks to the determined, relentless work of housing advocates around the country – and at a time when domestic programs were facing prospective cuts of up to 30% – the House draft FY24 appropriations bill ultimately proposed a 10% increase to HUD funding. While still insufficient to cover the level of need, this increase is a testament to the power of our collective voice.
Together, we can – and have – achieved historic protections and resources for renters with the lowest incomes, and together we can continue to fight the ongoing threat of cuts to HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness resources. Advocates can use NLIHC’s Legislative Action Center to call or email their members of Congress and urge them to expand – not cut – funding for HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs in the FY24 budget.
NLIHC also released an updated Congressional Recess Toolkit that provides advocates with ideas, advice, and tips on how to set up in-district meetings with their members of Congress, along with talking points, sample op-eds, sample social media messages, and more. Advocacy over August recess will be crucial in setting the stage for resumed negotiations on the federal budget when Congress returns in September and to warding off ongoing threats to HUD’s vital programs.
Members of Congress adjourned for recess on July 27 after months of contentious budget negotiations that culminated in vastly different spending proposals in the House and Senate. The discrepancies between the House and Senate appropriations bills set the stage for what will likely be a tumultuous September on Capitol Hill. Congress only has until September 30 – the start of the new federal fiscal year – to enact all 12 appropriations bills or pass a continuing resolution (CR) in order to keep the federal government funded and avoid a shutdown. Given how far apart the House and Senate are on their FY24 spending bills, and with far-right members of the House already refusing to vote for a clean CR that does not cut federal spending, members are raising alarms about a likely government shutdown on October 1.
While advocates across the country have done tremendous work to ensure that neither the House nor Senate FY24 spending bills drastically cut funding for vital HUD programs, including rental assistance and Homeless Assistance Grants, the road to enacting a final FY24 spending bill with sufficient HUD funding is steep. With members of Congress back in their home states and districts, August recess is the perfect time for advocates to set up in-district meetings with their members to stress the impact and importance of increased HUD funding in any final appropriations bill.
Thanks to the hard work of advocates across the country, who mobilized to weigh in with their elected officials, HUD’s vital rental assistance, homelessness assistance, and tribal housing programs were spared from cuts in both the House and Senate bills. We still have work to do to ensure these funding levels remain in a final bill and that other critical programs, such as Public Housing, are also fully funded.
Keep making your voice heard, and tell Congress that it cannot balance the federal budget at the expense of people with the lowest incomes! Advocates can take action TODAY in the following ways:
- Contact your senators and representatives to urge them to expand – not cut – investments in affordable, accessible homes through the FY24 spending bill!
- August recess is the perfect time for advocates to schedule in-district meetings with their members of Congress to urge them to support higher funding for affordable housing and homelessness programs. Check out NLIHC’s updated Congressional Recess Toolkit for information on how to set up in-district meetings, meeting tips, talking points, and more!
- Join over 2,000 organizations by signing on to a national letter from the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), calling on Congress to oppose budget cuts and instead to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24.
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