Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said on April 20 that the administration will include $200 billion for new infrastructure spending in its full FY18 budget. Mr. Mulvaney said at an Institute of International Finance conference that this $200 billion in direct federal expenditure will leverage private sector investments to achieve a total of $1 trillion in infrastructure spending over ten years. "The president wants $1 trillion worth of work on the ground and we expect to give it to him," Mr. Mulvaney said. Congress will not vote on infrastructure spending until the fall, he said.
NLIHC and other affordable housing advocates have been calling for affordable housing to be included in any infrastructure spending package, but not at the expense of appropriated funding to core HUD and USDA affordable housing programs. The Trump administration has called for drastic cuts of more than 13%, or $6.2 billion, to HUD programs in FY18 compared to FY16. When compared to funding levels needed for FY17, the proposed cuts amount to a 15%, or $7.5 billion, reduction. This would be the biggest cut to HUD since the Reagan era, which ushered in a new age of homelessness. Under the Trump budget, more than 200,000 seniors, families, and people with disabilities will be at immediate risk of eviction and homelessness, and local communities would lose the funding they need to build and repair affordable homes and revitalize distressed communities. Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, Choice Neighborhoods grants, NeighborWorks America, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Section 4 Capacity Building program, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program would be eliminated.
The nation needs a sustained commitment to ensuring the lowest income people in America have decent, safe, and affordable homes. Including housing in an infrastructure package is important because the needs are so great. But such a one-time investment cannot come at the expense of critical programs that provide ongoing support to struggling families and communities.