Senate Democrats Seek a Budget Deal to Lift Harmful Spending Caps

Senate Democrats sent a letter on June 26 to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Appropriations Committee Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS) stressing the need for a bipartisan, bicameral budget deal that lifts the harmful budget caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The letter underscores the importance of parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs in any budget deal and of prioritizing appropriations bills free of “poison pill riders.”

The letter was signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which provided temporary relief from the BCA spending caps, expires on September 30. Without a new agreement, tight spending caps will return for the FY18 budget and pose a significant risk to housing programs.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have stated that the current spending caps are unworkable and could set up the FY18 appropriations process for failure. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), a senior member on the House Appropriations Committee, agreed that a budget deal is needed because the current spending caps are too low. “We need to get rid of sequestration,” she said, referring to the mandatory defense and nondefense spending cuts required under the BCA. It remains unclear, however, if and when lawmakers will begin negotiating a deal to lift the caps or end sequestration.

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), convened by NLIHC, has called on Congress to provide relief from these austere spending caps and to ensure affordable housing, community development, and transportation programs receive the highest allocation of discretionary funds possible. CHCDF also urges Congress to continue to treat defense and nondefense programs equally when providing budget relief.

Read the senators’ letter at:

Learn more about Budget and Appropriations at:

Read CHCDF’s letter to Congress urging them to lift the budget caps at:

Learn more about CHCDF at: