Rep. McCarthy Removed as House Speaker, Delaying Action on Spending Bills

Days after the U.S. Congress enacted a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to continue to fund the federal government through November 17, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his leadership position. The decision to remove Speaker McCarthy stemmed in large part from frustration among some conservative lawmakers at McCarthy’s efforts to avoid a government shutdown and negotiate with Democrats in the U.S. Senate to keep the government open.

Without a new speaker in place, the House is unable to bring fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending bills to the House floor for a vote. Before removing Speaker McCarthy, the House was slated to vote on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill and various amendments during the week of October 9. Some proposed amendments have already been filed, including ones to deeply cut HUD funding, prevent the agency from advancing racial equity, and prevent transgender individuals experiencing homelessness from seeking shelter. The vote on the THUD bill and amendments is now delayed until a new speaker is elected.

The House may vote as soon as next week on a new Speaker of the House; however, it is unclear when a final decision will be made. Any speaker must garner at least 218 votes in the House, and because Republicans maintain a very slim majority, there is little room for error.

Congress will need to move quickly to negotiate final spending bills. Delays in electing a speaker could increase the risk of a government shutdown in November, when lawmakers must either enact another CR or pass final spending bills to avoid a shutdown.

Take Action!

Advocates should continue to take action to ensure robust funding for affordable housing and homelessness programs. Because the cost of housing and development rises every year, it is crucial that critical HUD programs receive increased annual appropriations just to maintain the current number of people and communities served.

Without additional funding, people who rely on HUD’s programs for safe, stable housing will be in danger of losing their assistance. Together, we can – and have – achieved historic protections and resources for renters with the lowest incomes, and together we can continue to fight the ongoing threat of cuts to HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness resources. Advocates can use NLIHC’s Legislative Action Center to call or email their members of Congress and urge them to pass a clean CR and to expand – not cut – funding for HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs in the FY24 budget.

Keep making your voice heard and tell Congress that it cannot balance the federal budget at the expense of people with the lowest incomes! Advocates can take action TODAY in the following ways:

  • Contact your senators and representatives to urge them to expand – not cut – investments in affordable, accessible homes through the FY24 spending bill, including by:
    • Providing the Senate’s proposed funding for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) and Project-Based Rental Assistance programs. While both the House and Senate provided increased funding for these vital programs, it is unlikely that the House’s proposed funding levels would be sufficient to renew all existing contracts. The Senate bill provides funding sufficient not only to renew existing voucher contracts, but to expand vouchers to an additional 4,000 households.
    • Ensuring full funding for public housing operations and repairs. Both the House and Senate bill proposed funding cuts to the Public Housing Capital Fund, despite an over $70 billion capital needs backlog in the public housing portfolio. While the Senate bill provided increased funding for Public Housing Operations – which the House bill cut – it is crucial that these programs receive increased funding in FY24 just to maintain the current level of services.
    • Allocating the Senate’s proposed funding for Homeless Assistance Grants. HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG) program provides vital funding to respond to the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
    • Protecting funding for legal assistance to prevent evictions in the Senate bill. The Senate maintains $20 million in funding for a new grant program for legal assistance to prevent evictions, which the House proposal eliminated.
    • Appropriating the House’s proposed funding for Native housing. While both the House and Senate bills would provide increased funding for native housing programs, the House spending bill would provide a more than 40% increase from FY23 to the Native American Housing Block Grant program – a significant investment towards addressing the housing crisis on tribal lands.
  • Urge your representatives to OPPOSE any harmful amendments that would further cut HUD funding, undermine fair housing and racial equity, or prevent marginalized people from accessing the resources they need.
  • Join over 2,100 organizations by signing on to a national letter from the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), calling on Congress to oppose budget cuts and instead to support the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing, homelessness, and community development resources in FY24.

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