Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Congress moves toward passage of $1.1 trillion FY14 spending bill

by Liza Getsinger, National Housing Conference  

Lawmakers are moving quickly to pass the omnibus appropriations bill rolled out by congressional appropriators late Monday night. The specifics of the $1.1 trillion spending deal, which is based on the FY2014 - 2015 budget deal struck late last year, were kept tightly under wraps in an attempt avoid any political maneuvering before Monday’s unveiling. With the current continuing resolution (CR) expiring today the House and Senate passed another short-term stopgap measure that would keep the government funded through January 18 in order to give lawmakers the necessary time to enact the omnibus spending bill. Congress is moving quickly in order to move the bill through both chambers in three days. Today the House passed the spending bill 359-67; the bill is now expected to be immediately taken up by the Senate. The omnibus, while imperfect, represents a big step forward for the return of bipartisan appropriations work and will set the tone for continued negotiations for FY15.

So what does this all mean for housing programs? The omnibus measure includes a total of $32.8 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, which will provide a slight, but temporary reprieve from devastating sequestration cuts. While the bill does not provide the level of funding proposed in the Senate bill last summer, but it does provide a necessary bump in funding over last year’s post-sequestration levels that will help to maintain housing assistance to those in need. The additional funds provides crucial funding support for housing and community development programs such as tenant and project based rental assistance, HOME, and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). A more detailed look at program funding levels can be found in a chart here. With programs like project-based rental assistance and the public housing capital fund still underfunded, Congress has a long way to go in order to provide the necessary funding that meets the growing housing needs of all in America. This is why NHC, as part of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, will continue to advocate for higher funding for all essential housing and community development programs. Look out for more details on the budget and appropriations process in the Washington Wire and on NHC’s Open House Blog.

A budget summary chart of selected HUD and USDA housing and community development programs can by found here.  

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