The House Appropriations Committee moved forward its FY19 spending bill for affordable housing and community development programs on May 23. The bill was approved by a 34-17 vote, and now heads to the House floor. The proposed bill maintains the 10% increase in HUD funding that advocates and congressional champions secured in FY18, with modest additional increases for FY19. The bill is a clear rejection of the president’s call to drastically cut housing investments, providing more than $11 billion above the president’s FY19 request. It also rejects the harmful rent increases, rigid work requirements, and de facto time limits proposed by the president in his FY19 budget request and by subsequent legislation.
Subcommittee Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ranking Member David Price (D-NC) stressed the importance of housing assistance for low income families and highlighted several specific spending provisions, including $50 million for a mobility-voucher demonstration for families with young children to help them move to areas of opportunity.
Despite new resources and overall increased funding available to HUD, the amounts provided in the bill are likely not enough to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and project-based rental assistance contracts. Mr. Price stated that he and Mr. Diaz-Balart may need to revisit those levels once they receive the most updated reports on those programs, and he urged the Committee to increase funding for HUD programs to continue the progress made in last year’s omnibus spending bill, which provided significant new investments in affordable housing.
House Democrats offered several amendments:
- Mr. Price offered an amendment to strike policy riders from the spending bill, including language that limits HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. This amendment was defeated by a 21-29 vote. He also offered an amendment to rebalance funding within the overall Transportation-HUD spending bill by redistributing $1.1 billion earmarked for highways to several housing programs that would otherwise have their funding decreased or needs not fully met in the bill. The amendment would have increased funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME), the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, and the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, so that those programs receive level-funding. The amendment would also provide more funding to fully renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and project-based rental assistance contracts. The amendment was rejected on a 22-27 vote.
- Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) offered an amendment to increase funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program to the FY18 funding level. The FY19 funding bill provides $632 million to the program, compared to $678 million in the FY18 omnibus. The amendment was adopted by a voice vote.
- Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) offered an amendment that would prevent HUD from implementing the Trump administration’s proposal to increase rents and impose work requirements on families currently receiving housing assistance until studies that Congress has commissioned to examine such polices are concluded. Ms. Lee subsequently withdrew her amendment, so it received no vote by the Committee.
- Other amendments would have increased funding for homeless assistance grants (Ms. Lee), public housing capital repairs (Representative Jose Serrano, D-NY), and the HOME program (Ms. Lee). All of these amendments were defeated.
Read the text of the House bill at: https://bit.ly/2J1RIX6
Watch the archived webcast of the House Appropriations Committee vote at: https://bit.ly/2wQx5rK
Read the NLIHC’s analysis of the House bill at: https://bit.ly/2rNTArA
Review NLIHC’s budget chart at: http://bit.ly/1SowzjU