Coronavirus Relief Bill Negotiations Stall while Appropriations Bills Advance; Join National Call-in Day to Urge Action!

The Senate Appropriations Committee released all 12 of its spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021 on November 10. Thanks to the leadership of Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), the THUD bill includes modest increases in funding for affordable housing programs, despite strict budget caps required by the Budget Control Act. For more details on the bill’s provisions, read NLIHC’s full analysis of the bill and view our updated budget chart.  

Congress now has until December 11 to reach a compromise on FY21 spending levels and pass all 12 bills or pass another continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown. While many of the Senate’s FY21 bills were reached through bipartisan agreement, there remain substantial policy differences to be addressed during negotiations with the House. Most notably, the House THUD bill contained language rebuking many of the harmful and discriminatory policies advanced by the Trump Administration, including preventing HUD from implementing its proposed anti-transgender rule change to the Equal Access Rule; barring HUD from finalizing its proposed rule to force mixed-status immigrant families to separate or face eviction from HUD housing; and blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule and the Disparate Impact Rule. The House bill also contains nearly $75 billion in emergency infrastructure investments to help communities respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

While both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agree they would like Congress to enact an omnibus spending bill before the December 11 deadline rather than passing another CR, the lawmakers remain at an impasse in determining the size and scope of a potential coronavirus relief package. Speaker Pelosi is pushing for a broad, multitrillion-dollar package, while Leader McConnell continues to insist a much more limited relief measure would suffice. Leader McConnell is expected to take over negotiations from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, although McConnell and Speaker Pelosi have yet to begin discussions. The ongoing stalemate could prevent a relief bill from being enacted before the end of the year, despite the urgent and growing need for additional relief measures, including rental assistance.   

Outgoing President Donald Trump may also disrupt appropriations and relief package negotiations. Even if Congress does manage to reach an agreement on either bill, it is unclear whether the outgoing president will sign either bill into law.  Join NLIHC and advocates across the country for a National Call-In Day on Thursday, November 19 to demand that Congress pass a coronavirus relief bill that includes the essential housing resources and protections in the House-passed “HEROES Act.” NLIHC will share resources, including an advocacy toolkit with talking points, sample scripts, and social media messages tomorrow!