Uncertain Outlook for Housing Policy in 2012

NLIHC Provides Congressional Overview
as Congress Returns to DC

CongressWhen Congress begins the second session of the 112th Congress later this month, it will focus on how to deal with the payroll tax and unemployment insurance. The last minute deal around these issues that it struck with the President at the end of 2011 expires on February 29, 2012.

The House begins the session on January 24, 2012 which is a few days before the President delivers his State of the Union. The Senate formally reconvenes on January 23, 2012.

Given that 2012 is an election year and the deep divisions between the two parties, legislative gridlock is expected to continue. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) analysis that has identified the following key housing policy issues for the year:

  1. Budget and Appropriations
  2. Sequestration
  3. Housing Finance Reform
  4. Voucher Reform Bill

In this the first of four posts we will focus on Budget and Appropriations.

The focus on deficit reduction looms large over the FY13 federal budget and appropriations process in this Congress. In 2011, Congress failed at numerous efforts to identify ways to reduce the deficit. The last of these efforts, according to the Budget Control Act of 2011, requires that funds to reduce the national deficit be sequestered from discretionary programs beginning in January 2013.  Despite probable cuts to numerous programs in FY13, which would include affordable housing programs, both the Administration and Congress are expected to attempt to reduce spending prior to sequestration taking effect.

The President’s budget is to be delivered to Congress in early February. This would be the third consecutive year that this Administration and Congress have attempted to curtail spending, with the two prior years’ efforts resulting in cuts to affordable housing programs.

To read our prior posts on a call to action click here.