Senate Prepares for Vote on HUD Funding Bill, While House Republicans Unveil Continuing Resolution That Would Drastically Cut HUD Funding – Take Action!

Lawmakers are closing in on a September 30 deadline to reach an agreement to keep the federal government funded or else risk a partial government shutdown. Despite widespread agreement that a short-term spending measure to extend government funding, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will be needed to avoid a shutdown, progress on enacting a CR has been slow and contentious.

CRs maintain the previously appropriated year’s level of funding for federal programs for a specified period of time, giving lawmakers more time to reach an agreement on appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year (FY). Because the cost of housing and development rises every year, it is crucial that HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness assistance 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.

Republicans in the House reached an agreement over the weekend on a proposed CR that would extend government funding for 30 days, in exchange for slashing non-defense spending by 8%. The U.S. Departments of Veteran Affairs and Defense would remain funded at current levels. The proposal also includes a border security bill championed by House Republicans. However, the proposal does not include the White House’s requested supplemental funding for FEMA disaster relief efforts, nor does it include additional aid for Ukraine.

While it is uncertain whether the bill will muster the Republican votes needed to pass in the House – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) can only afford to lose four votes from members of his party if he wants to move legislation through the chamber without Democrats’ support – the bill is guaranteed to fail in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The Senate will instead likely take up and pass its own, bipartisan CR to send back to the House. Speaker McCarthy will then have the option of bringing the Senate-passed CR to the House floor for a vote, or – knowing the bill would likely pass with bipartisan support – caving to the demands of far-right Republicans and refusing to do so, forcing a government shutdown.

Meanwhile, in the Senate progress on passing a “minibus” of three FY24 spending packages – including the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill – stalled last week, after Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and others refused to provide unanimous consent to move forward on a rules package governing how the chamber would carry out the minibus vote. The members cited concerns about moving three bills at once, requesting instead to consider and vote on each bill individually.

Still, the chamber is expected to vote on the THUD spending bill this week. While the House and Senate will not be able to reach an agreement on any of the 12 FY24 appropriations bills by the deadline, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice-Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) are aiming to pass all 12 of the Senate’s FY24 spending bills through the chamber by October 1, strengthening the Senate’s hand in final budget negotiations.

Take Action

Together, we can achieve – and have achieved before – historic protections and resources for renters with the lowest incomes, and together we can continue to fight back against 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 expand – not cut – funding for HUD’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs in the FY24 budget.

Thanks to the hard work of advocates across the country, who mobilized to weigh in with their elected officials, HUD’s vital rental assistance, homelessness assistance, and tribal housing programs were spared from cuts in the Senate draft bill. However, due to rampant increases in the cost of rent, the House’s proposed funding for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program is not expected to be sufficient to cover renewals for all existing contracts. We still have work to do to ensure these funding levels remain in a final bill, and that other critical programs, such as Public Housing, are also fully funded.

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 not only sufficient 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.
  • Join over 2,000 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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