Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate returned to session last week for the first time since August recess, but neither chamber reported progress towards reaching an agreement on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded after the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Lawmakers have until September 30 – the end of fiscal year (FY) 2022 – to enact a CR, or risk a partial government shutdown.
Government shutdowns or long-term CRs have serious consequences for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs. CRs maintain the level of funding provided by Congress for the previous fiscal year. Because the costs of housing and development programs are tied to market rates, which have spiked dramatically since FY22, flat funding acts as a cut and reduces the number of people served by HUD and USDA programs.
While appropriations leaders in the House and Senate are looking to pass a CR that will last until mid-December, they have yet to settle on an exact date – either December 9 or December 16 appears to be the likely deadline – and need to agree on what, if any, policies to include in the must-pass legislation. Some conservative Republicans in the House object to the short-term spending deal altogether and are urging their party to vote against a CR unless it carries into the new year, when the House and Senate might flip to Republican control.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is pushing to include in the CR a provision to streamline the permitting process for energy projects, though the provision is opposed by both Republicans and House progressives. The Biden administration is also urging Congress to include $47 billion in relief assistance for COVID-19, monkeypox, Ukraine, and disaster-stricken areas, including Kentucky, California, Louisiana, and Texas. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers is asking appropriators to include a renewal of waivers that provide free school breakfasts and lunches to students from low-income families.
With only seven legislative days left in which both chambers will be in session before the FY22 spending bill expires, time is quickly running out for lawmakers to reach an agreement on the CR. Advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to pass a CR as soon as possible to keep the government funded and avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of a partial government shutdown.
Once a CR is passed, appropriations leaders will still need to reach an agreement on an appropriations bill for FY23. Both the House and Senate have released draft spending bills written with little or no Republican input, raising concerns that a final spending package will offer significantly less funding than either the House or Senate drafts. The House bill for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) would provide roughly $3 billion more for HUD’s vital affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs than the Senate’s proposal. See NLIHC’s analysis of the House draft and the Senate draft, as well as our updated budget chart, for more information.
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The FY2023 spending bill likely represents the last opportunity this year for Congress to make robust investments in affordable housing and homelessness programs. Congress must not pass up the chance to provide the significant funding needed to ensure the nation is moving towards safe, affordable, and accessible housing for all.
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.
Additionally, Congress is expected to enact a tax extenders package before the end of the year. Many tax provisions are only authorized for a set number of years, forcing Congress to periodically reevaluate and decide whether to extend expiring tax provisions. With a number of tax provisions up for extension at the end of the year, the tax extenders package represents an opportunity to make needed legislative changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program so that it better serves households with the lowest incomes. NLIHC is urging Congress to include the following LIHTC reforms in any tax extenders package:
- Provide incentives to serve extremely low-income households and people experiencing homelessness, as well as reforms to encourage affordable housing development in tribal nations and rural areas so that LIHTC better serves communities with the greatest affordable housing needs.
- Eliminate the “Qualified Contract” loophole, ensure data transparency, and clarify and strengthen nonprofits’ right of first refusal to ensure long-term affordability.
- Extend vital renter protections to tenants living in LIHTC properties.
Learn more about key reforms needed to ensure LIHTC is serving households with the lowest incomes here.
In addition to pushing Congress for robust funding for affordable housing and homelessness programs in FY23, advocates should continue contacting their members of Congress to urge them to include these provisions in any tax extender package moving forward. Use NLIHC’s August recess advocacy toolkit to help create your message to Congress, and visit our Take Action page for more ways to get involved!