November Mid-Term Elections for Congress Offer Advocates Opportunity to Speak Up
The two chambers of Congress continue to negotiate a final deal on a four-bill spending package (“minibus”) that includes the FY19 Transportation-HUD (THUD) bill.
Several issues are stalling negotiations, including a House Republican provision that would set aside $585 million for a “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids,” which can only be spent once the federal deficit is eliminated. Many Democrats object to this proposal since it prevents the money from being spent for the foreseeable future.
Congress has until September 30, the last day of the current fiscal year, to negotiate a deal on the minibus. Without an agreement, Congress will probably fund HUD affordable housing programs through a stopgap funding measure running through December 7.
Lawmakers plan to attach the stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, to a different spending package that has already been negotiated.
- A CR is a temporary funding measure that Congress can use to fund the federal government for a limited amount of time.
- Continuing resolutions are often employed to avoid a government shutdown and give lawmakers more time to come up with an agreement on funding for the year.
Congress should pass the THUD appropriations bill as soon as possible and provide full funding for affordable housing programs.
On July 25, 2018, over 350 New Jerseyans attended a Congressional Reception in Washington, DC with the themes “No Cuts to Housing” and “Opportunity Starts at Home.” Individuals impacted by homelessness shared with their elected officials the impact that affordable housing and services have had on their lives.
Building on the momentum of that successful Congressional Reception, it is critical that our elected officials in Washington continue to push for increased and full funding for affordable housing programs that are working to prevent and end homelessness in New Jersey.
And we have the opportunity to influence who our elected officials in Washington will be in 2019. The mid-term elections will take place on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Ten of the twelve members of New Jersey’s House delegation are up for re-election along with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. And voters in the 2nd and 11th House districts will elect a new Congressperson to fill the seats of U.S. Representatives Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-2) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11) who are retiring and not seeking re-election.
Affordable homes are built with ballots every bit as much as they are built with bricks and drywall. Advocates for expanded housing affordability need to be a significant voting block in the 2018 election and to realize that they vote can make a difference and impact election outcomes. The deadline to register to vote in New Jersey in the November election is Tuesday October 16, 2018.