House Passes THUD FY16 Budget Bill

Does Not Raise Sequester Spending Caps
Congressman Smith Votes No

Congressman Chris SmithOn June 9, 2015, the House passed its FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill by a vote of 216-210 vote that could have delivered a blow to GOP leaders.

The budget falls nearly $1.5 billion below what is necessary to maintain current funding levels because it adheres to spending caps put in place by the 2011 Sequester.

According to The Hill:

A diverse coalition of hard-line conservatives and centrist Republicans came together late Tuesday night to nearly deprive the annual 2016 spending bill for transportation and housing programs of the votes to pass.

New Jersey’s delegation voted along party lines with Representative Chris Smith (R-4) voting “no” along with all of the Democrats. Click here to contact his housing staff to thank Congressman Smith for his no-vote.

Overall, H.R. 2577 significantly under-funds critical federal housing and community development programs, falling nearly $1.5 billion short of what is needed to simply maintain current funding levels.

While it increases funding for Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, the House THUD bill reduces spending for several other affordable housing and community development programs.

The House bill funds the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) at $767 million and redirects an additional $133 million to the program from the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). By including legislative language to prevent the NHTF from receiving any additional funding, H.R. 2577 effectively eliminates the trust fund and reduces overall spending on affordable housing.

Here is a report on some key amendments to H.R. 2577 that were considered on June 9.

  1. Representative Paul Gosar (AZ) Amendment – Prohibits funds from being used by HUD to implement, enforce, or administer their proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule or Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool. – ADOPTED 229 – 193 Democrats voting for: None. Congressman Frank LoBiondo voted no.
  2. Representative Ted Yoho (FL) Amendment – Prohibits funds from being used by HUD to benefit undocumented non-citizens. – ADOPTED 244 – 181
  3. Representative Scott Garrett (NJ) Amendment – Prohibits funds from being used by HUD to implement or enforce the disparate impact standard of the Fair Housing Act. – ADOPTED 231 – 195 Democrats voting for: None Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted no.

Advocates should call or email Representatives who opposed H.R. 2577 to thank them for standing up for housing programs. Please also contact your Representative if he or she supported the bill, and offer to provide additional information about the importance of affordable housing programs in your community.

The White House has threatened to veto this bill and any other spending legislation that does not replace the Sequester spending caps. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill in the coming weeks.

Click here for an updated FY16 budget chart from the NLIHC.