U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) proposed a draft continuing resolution (CR) on November 11 that would extend current funding for the federal government in two tiers: funding for four appropriations bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill, would be extended until January 19, 2024, and funding for the remaining eight bills would be extended until February 2, 2024. Congress has until November 17 to pass a CR to extend funding for the federal government; failure to do so will result in a partial government shutdown.
In addition to the CR, the House is hoping to consider the fiscal year (FY) 2024 THUD spending bill this week, after cancelling a scheduled November 7 floor vote. Speaker Johnson pulled the bill from consideration, citing a lack of support among both conservative and moderate Republicans in his caucus. Moderates raised alarms about proposed cuts to Amtrak funding, while conservatives argued that budget cuts should be even steeper.
With House Democrats uniformly opposed to the bill, Speaker Johnson can only afford to lose four Republican votes and still pass partisan bills. The THUD bill proposes a $6.4 billion (or roughly 10%) increase to HUD programs over previously enacted levels while also calling for deep cuts to – and even the elimination of – several HUD programs. While the bill would provide an increase in funding for renewing vital housing vouchers, new research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that, at the funding levels proposed in the House bill, approximately 40,000 vouchers currently being used by households would expire upon turnover.
While the bill did not receive a vote last week, members did consider several amendments to the spending proposal that would reduce funding to HUD programs or impose needless barriers to accessing HUD assistance. Thanks in large part to the work of advocates across the country who mobilized to weigh in with their members of Congress, the House voted to reject several harmful amendments to the THUD spending bill, including:
- An amendment from Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) to weaken HUD’s Equal Access Rule and allow discrimination against transgender individuals seeking homeless shelters by a vote of 212-217.
- An amendment from Representative Josh Brecheen (R-OK) to cut funding to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity by a vote of 174-252.
- An amendment from Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH) to eliminate funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program by a vote of 144-282.
The House did, however, pass an amendment from Representative Dale Strong (R-AL) to express support for drug testing of residents in federally assisted housing, as well as two amendments from Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), one expressing “concern” about HUD’s Diversity Council and the second expressing support for a study on “marital demographics” in assisted housing programs. These amendments do not have a practical impact on funding or HUD policy; rather, they should be considered “messaging” amendments signaling members’ priorities.
With the November 17 CR deadline fast approaching, it is unclear whether the House will have the capacity to take up the FY24 THUD spending bill this week as planned. Speaker Johnson’s proposed CR is “clean,” meaning it does not have harmful amendments or policy riders, including cuts to federal spending, which far-right members of his party oppose. Three members have already pledged to vote against the proposal.
A House vote on the CR is expected as soon as tomorrow (November 14). If the Speaker’s “two-tiered” CR does not pass the chamber, he will bring up a proposal for a full-year CR with limited funding increases for only defense and national security priorities. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, appropriations leaders are preparing a clean short-term CR that would extend funding across-the-board until January 19, 2024.
It is critical that advocates keep weighing in with their senators and representatives on the importance of avoiding a government shutdown and providing increased funding for HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs. Tell Congress that it cannot balance the federal budget at the expense of people with the lowest incomes!
- Contact your senators and representatives to urge them to expand – not cut – investments in affordable, accessible homes through the FY24 spending bill, including full funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:
- Full funding to renew all existing contracts for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) programs.
- Full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
- The Senate’s proposed funding for Homeless Assistance Grants.
- Protecting $20 million in funding for legal assistance to prevent evictions in the Senate bill.
- The House’s proposed funding for Native housing.
Join over 2,100 organizations by signing on to a national letter calling on Congress to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24