House to Vote This Week on Proposal to Impose Deep Cuts on Domestic Spending– Take Action Today!

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) plans to hold a vote as soon as Wednesday, April 26, on a harmful proposal to lift the federal debt limit in exchange for dramatic cuts to domestic spending, including funding for HUD’s and USDA’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs.

Unveiled April 19 but not yet formally introduced in the House, the “Limit, Save, and Grow Act,” as the Republican proposal is named, would cut federal domestic spending for fiscal year (FY) 2024 to FY22 levels and exempt defense and veterans spending from the cuts, resulting in at least a 23% reduction in funding for key programs. The proposal would also limit future spending increases to just 1% annually for 10 years, rescind unspent COVID-19 relief funds, and put in place rigid and ineffective work requirements for some anti-poverty programs. In exchange for these drastic cuts, the bill would raise the federal debt ceiling until March 31, 2024, or by $1.5 trillion, whichever comes first, putting Congress in the position to restart debt ceiling negotiations all over again next year.

If enacted, the proposal could make it impossible for HUD to stave off mass evictions, according to a letter from HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge to Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who is Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations. The Secretary highlighted the fact that drastic cuts to HUD’s programs could cause nearly 1 million households currently being served by the department’s rental assistance programs to lose their housing assistance, putting them at risk of housing instability and evictions, and nearly 120,000 fewer people experiencing homelessness to receive services.

Without adequate funding for vital federal affordable housing and homelessness programs, millions of the lowest-income and most marginalized households would continue experiencing homelessness or remain at risk, paying more than half of their limited incomes on rent. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that cutting spending to FY22 levels would result in a cut to non-defense discretionary programs of around $133 billion.

Capping future spending at 1% per year would likewise have a tremendous negative impact on the people served by affordable housing and homelessness programs. These programs must receive inflationary cost increases each year just to maintain the number of households being served. Even with recent funding increases to federal programs, many are still being impacted by the austere spending caps put in place by the “Budget Control Act of 2011.” In fact, HUD’s cumulative appropriations since FY10 are still slightly lower than if annual appropriations had remained at FY10 levels and been adjusted only for inflation.

It is currently unclear whether Speaker McCarthy will be able to gather the 218 votes needed for the bill to pass the House. Working under a narrow majority and with Democrats unified in opposition to the measure, the Speaker can only afford to lose four Republican votes if the bill is to pass. Some members of Speaker McCarthy’s own party have voiced reservations about the proposal, with moderates raising concerns over the repeal of green energy tax credits that would help their districts, and far-right conservatives pushing for even more stringent work requirements to be imposed on benefit programs like food assistance and Medicaid.

Take Action!

It is crucial that advocates weigh-in with their members of Congress and tell them that it is unacceptable to balance the federal budget by demanding cuts to programs that help the lowest-income households survive. There is a national shortage of approximately 7.3 million affordable, available homes for people with the lowest incomes, and only one in four households who qualify for federal housing assistance receives the help it needs. Without adequate funding for vital federal affordable housing and homeless assistance programs, households with the lowest incomes will continue to live precariously, only one missed paycheck or unexpected emergency away from housing instability, eviction, and, in the worst cases, homelessness.

In addition to scheduling in-district meetings with their members of Congress, advocates can continue to take action:

  • Sign your organization on to the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding’s (CHCDF) annual budget letter, calling on Congress to reject spending cuts and instead provide the highest possible allocation for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in FY24.
  • Email your members of Congress today and urge them to increase – not cut – resources for affordable housing and homelessness in FY24 and to support NLIHC’s top appropriations priorities:
    • $32.7 billion for the TBRA program to renew existing vouchers and to expand the program to an additional 200,000 households.
    • $5.4 billion for public housing operations and $5 billion for public housing repairs.
    • $3.8 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program.
    • $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
    • $3 billion for a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance program.
    • $300 million for the competitive tribal housing grants, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.
  • Check out NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, “Oppose Dramatic Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing,” for talking points, sample social media messages, and more!