Government Shutdown Continues into Fourth Week with No End in Sight

The partial federal government shutdown, now into its fourth week, continues with no end in sight. On January 10, House Democrats, who passed a package of spending bills to end the government shutdown earlier in January, voted on several individual spending bills, including those for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) and for USDA. Both bills propose funding levels and policy proposals for affordable housing programs identical to those included in the Senate’s versions of the FY19 USDA and THUD spending bills and would also provide retroactive pay to federal workers at those agencies (read NLIHC’s analysis of the Senate FY19 THUD bill and updated budget chart). The House passed the THUD spending bill by a vote of 244-180 and the USDA spending bill by a vote of 243-183, with several Republicans voting in favor of each.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will not bring the bills up for a vote in the Senate, however, because President Trump has said he will not sign any spending bill into law until he gets a significant increase in funding for a southern border wall. Congressional leaders met with President Trump on January 9 in the hopes of reaching a deal to reopen the federal government, but those talks were unsuccessful when President Trump abruptly left the meeting.

The Trump administration is now proposing to divert emergency funding to border security. The plan would target funding originally allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers for infrastructure projects in areas that experienced disasters in 2017, specifically in Puerto Rico and California. The President has not indicated he would attempt to use Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds – a crucial resource for disaster housing recovery. The president would need to declare a national emergency to redirect funding for Army Corps of Engineers’ reconstruction projects.

The NLIHC-led Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) sent a letter to congressional leadership and President Trump and issued a press release last week calling for an end to the shutdown and outlining the effects the shutdown is having on affordable housing and community development, including its impacts on specific HUD and USDA programs. See our latest factsheet, interactive map, and state-by-state breakdown on some of these impacts.

NLIHC and other CHCDF leaders will conduct a national call on Tuesday, January 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET to provide updates on the shutdown’s impact on affordable housing and community development programs and to offer guidance on how advocates can engage lawmakers to help end the shutdown. Register for the call here.

NLIHC will continue to keep you updated on the latest news related to the shutdown and its impacts on affordable housing.