With only a few weeks in session before August recess and multiple priorities vying for attention, members of Congress are feeling the pressure to reach a deal on a reconciliation package and move the fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations process forward. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) have continued negotiations over a slimmed-down reconciliation package, after the “Build Back Better Act” – which included $150 billion in affordable housing investments – failed to garner Senator Manchin’s support and died in the Senate last year.
In a statement on the ongoing reconciliation negotiations, Senator Manchin noted the bill would need to “get our financial house in order,” including by addressing inflation, paying down the federal deficit and, if possible, lowering the cost of gasoline by increasing domestic energy production.
Democratic lawmakers are aiming to reach an agreement on a reconciliation outline by July 4 and to finalize legislative text and move the package through both the House and Senate before Congress adjourns for August recess on August 8. This condensed timeline leaves only a few weeks to weigh in with Congress on the necessity of allocating robust, targeted affordable housing investments in any reconciliation package, including significant funding for NLIHC’s top policy priorities:
- $25 billion to expand rental assistance to more than 300,000 households. See how many vouchers your state would receive here.
- $65 billion to make critically needed repairs to public housing to preserve this valuable asset for its 2 million residents.
- $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes. See NLIHC’s breakdown of how much each state would receive through the Housing Trust Fund here.
While the road to success is steep, this is not the first time advocates have pulled off the seemingly impossible and pushed Congress to maintain significant affordable housing investments in the reconciliation package. Email, tweet, and call your representatives and urge them to include these once-in-a-generation housing investments targeted to ensure people with the lowest incomes have a safe, quality, affordable, and accessible place to call home. Use NLIHC’s call-in script and advocacy toolkit to help create your own message to Congress!
Budget reconciliation – which allows the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes usually required in the chamber – represents the best opportunity to enact the bold, large-scale investments in affordable housing needed to address the severe lack of deeply affordable rental homes. However, the annual appropriations process is also vital to ensuring continued and expanded funding for HUD’s affordable housing programs.
While attempts to reach an agreement on topline funding levels for a fiscal year (FY) 2023 spending package have been slow-going, the House Appropriations committee signaled last week its willingness to move forward with the appropriations process even without an agreement. House appropriators announced on June 7 that they would enact a deeming resolution, allowing them to set a discretionary spending cap aligned with President Biden’s roughly $1.6 trillion budget request. This procedural step allows appropriators to begin drafting their bills and moving them through the chamber.
House appropriators also set a schedule for both subcommittee and full committee votes on 12 appropriations bills. The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee is expected to review and vote on its appropriations bill on June 23, with a full committee vote expected June 30. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to release its anticipated schedule for votes on the FY23 spending package.
NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are leading our annual 302(b) letter to demand that Congress provide the highest possible level of funding for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY23. Advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to support significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:
- $32.13 billion for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts and expand housing vouchers to an additional 200,000 households.
- $5.125 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to preserve public housing, and $5.06 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
- $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
- $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- $300 million for the competitive tribal housing program, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.
Thank you for your advocacy!