A Long-Term Continuing Resolution Could Put Housing at Risk; Booker, Menendez and Smith Vote No
On September 28, 2016, with only two days to spare before the deadline, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a short-term continuing resolution (CR), set at Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels. The continuing resolution will keep the federal government funded through December 9, 2016. The measure headed to the White House for President Obama’s signature.
Lawmakers were able to reach a deal after weeks of negotiations.
The CR includes:
- A Small Across-the-Board Cut. To fit under spending caps required by the Budget Control Act, the CR includes a half percent across-the-board cut to funding levels with a number of exceptions.
- Funding for Flood Victims in Louisiana and Other States. The measure includes $500 million in emergency funding to help flood victims in Louisiana and other states. The White House had requested $2.6 billion in Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant funds and urges Congress to provide more aid to help flood victims when Congress returns after the November elections.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks was disagreement over whether and how to provide aid to Flint, Michigan to address the city’s lead-tainted water system. In the end, Congress agreed to authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects.
The White House and Congress now have until December 9 to either negotiate another CR or enact full FY17 appropriations bills. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) strongly urges Congress to enact full-year FY17 spending bills for HUD as soon as possible.
A long-term CR that extends into 2017 could cause thousands of families to lose access to stable housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) needs approximately $1 billion more than FY16 spending levels. A long-term CR at FY16 levels would result in deep cuts to critical housing programs that could cause thousands of families and children to lose access to stable housing, putting them at increased risk of homelessness.
A long-term CR also puts vital investments in affordable housing at risk. Both the House and Senate proposed FY17 spending bills would increase resources for affordable housing programs—$200 million and $500 million, respectively—to help provide affordable, stable housing for more seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and people experiencing homelessness.
Both bills propose increases for:
- Housing Choice Vouchers,
- Project-Based Rental Assistance,
- Section 202 Housing for the Elderly,
- Homeless Assistance Grants, and
- Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction.
In addition, the House and Senate bills provide level funding or modest increases for the:
- Public Housing Operating Fund,
- Public Housing Capital Fund,
- Family Self Sufficiency Program,
- HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program,
- Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.