Senate Democrats Release Report Outlining Impact of Potential Programmatic Cuts If FY24 Spending Is Capped at FY22 Levels

The Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, led by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), released a report on February 15 detailing the impacts of potential funding cuts being proposed by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who are pushing to cap fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending at FY22 levels in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) unveiled findings from the report during a Senate floor speech.

The report finds that, depending on how cuts are made, capping FY24 spending at FY22 levels would result in a funding decrease of between 12% (if cuts were made equally across all programs, including defense) and 30% (if defense and Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care were spared from the cuts). A recent analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that capping spending at FY22 levels could result in an average cut of 24% across non-defense programs, depending on which programs are prioritized.

The report notes that spending cuts would further exacerbate the nation’s already critical affordable housing crisis and take away vital assistance from households who would otherwise struggle to keep a roof over their heads. For example, the proposed cuts would:

  • Reduce HUD rental assistance and homelessness assistance by $6.6 billion, putting the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on this assistance at risk of housing instability, eviction, and in the worst cases, homelessness. Public housing authorities (PHAs), which are charged with administering housing vouchers, would be forced to “pull existing vouchers from families searching for units or sever assistance altogether.”
  • Reduce funding to programs like the HOME Investment Partnership Program, resulting in 1,700 fewer affordable housing units constructed and 1,300 households losing rental assistance.
  • Increase children’s risk of lead-based pant exposure by cutting $48 million in funding to address lead and other health hazards in low-income housing, impacting an estimated 3,000 households.
  • Exacerbate the affordable housing shortage in native territories by cutting $120 million from Native American housing programs.
  • Reduce funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by $472 million, leaving many families with low incomes unable to heat or cool their homes, even in dangerous weather conditions.

The federal government is expected to run out of money to pay its bills between July and September of this year unless Congress acts to raise the statutory debt limit, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has repeatedly called for steep budget cuts as a prerequisite for raising the country’s debt limit. However, the House Speaker has also pledged not to cut defense spending, or funding for Medicare and Social Security, leaving non-defense discretionary spending – including funding for vital affordable housing and homelessness programs – squarely on the chopping block. House Republicans are expected to release a topline preview of proposed budget cuts in April, after the President releases his FY24 budget request on March 9.

Cuts to housing benefits – just like work requirements, time limits, and other policies that impose needless barriers to housing – undermine housing stability, increase evictions, and lead to more homelessness. Cutting benefits does nothing to address the underlying cause of America’s housing and homelessness crisis: the widening gap between wages and housing costs, and a severe shortage of homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes. Imposing arbitrary restrictions on housing benefits will not create the well-paying jobs and opportunities needed to lift households out of poverty – rather, they will make it more difficult for households to maintain employment and economic security.

Take Action!

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 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.

  • 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:
    • Full funding for the TBRA program to renew existing vouchers and to expand the program to an additional 200,000 households.
    • Full funding for public housing operations and repairs.
    • Full funding for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program.
    • $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
    • $3 billion for a permanent Emergency Rental Assistance program.
    • Increased funding 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!

Visit our Take Action page to learn about more ways you can get involved!