Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met again last week with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to continue discussions over a revised reconciliation package, scaled-down significantly from the House-passed “Build Back Better Act.” Majority Leader Schumer stated that talks have been “productive,” but both parties acknowledge there remain unresolved issues that will need to be addressed to reach a final deal.
Reports indicate that Senator Manchin’s priorities – lowering the cost of prescription drugs, energy- and climate-related tax breaks, and increasing taxes on corporations and the “super wealthy” to increase federal revenues – will be the centerpiece of any final reconciliation package. While congressional Democrats hoped to reach an agreement on a reconciliation package before the July 4 recess, it seems increasingly likely that members will continue working over the summer to finalize the bill.
Even if a deal is reached before July 4, it is possible Democratic leaders will avoid announcing the deal until the end of July. This strategy would reduce the amount of time opponents have to raise criticisms of the bill and drawing the process out as close to Congress’s August recess as possible would limit the time Republicans in the Senate have to offer amendments to the bill. Under budget reconciliation, senators are allowed to offer an unlimited number of amendments to a reconciliation bill during an often hours-long process known as “vote-a-rama.”
While Democratic members remain optimistic that they will be able to reach an agreement to enact a reconciliation package, time is running out – Congress will be out of session for the majority of August, and the current budget resolution expires when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. That leaves only a few short weeks for advocates to continue weighing-in with their members of Congress on the importance of maintaining significant funding for targeted affordable housing investments in any reconciliation bill, 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 and 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 of 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!
Thank you for your advocacy!