Housing is a Right, Housing is Health Care, and Housing Creates Healthy Communities

Highest Federal Funding Possible Will Support Congressional Reception Policy Priorities

While the August recess for our lawmakers who represent us in Washington, continues this month, we should remind them of the critical need for to fund housing and community development programs at the House-approved levels. There are still a few weeks left in the Recess that we can all use to advocate. Congress returns to work in Washington on Monday, September 9, 2019.

The House passed a two-year FY20-21 budget deal (H.R. 3877) on July 25 by a vote of 284-149. Congressional leadership and the White House announced on July 23 that they had reached an agreement to lift the low federal spending caps on defense and non-defense domestic (NDD) programs by $321 billion for the next two fiscal years. On August 2, President Trump signed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (BBA 2019), into law.

When the Senate returns from its recess, it will begin working on its spending bills. You can reach out to U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and urge them to work with their colleagues to support the funding levels for affordable homes in the House Appropriations bill.

Our Federal Policy Priorities at the 2019 Congressional Reception on July 24 included Housing & Services, Affordable Housing and Housing Development. We must continue to remind our elected officials about the critical need to increase funding for McKinney-Vento, protect and expand the Housing Choice Voucher Program and increase funding for programs that fund the development of affordable homes.

Now that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 has been passed, Congress should get to work on enacting Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations that will help us ensure that Opportunity Starts at Home: Building a Necessary and Secure Foundation for Healthy Communities.

The funding levels for affordable housing in the House of Representatives appropriations bill is significantly higher, $13.4 billion, than President Trump’s FY20 request and at least 5.9 billion above the FY19 enacted levels

The House budget clearly rebukes the harmful rent increases, rigid work requirements, and de facto time limits proposed by the president in his past budget requests and in subsequent legislation. Moreover, the House bill includes legislative language to halt cruel proposals from the President to evict mixed-status immigrant families from assisted housing and to roll back LGBT protections.

The following messages that Housing is a Right, Housing is Health Care, and Housing Creates Healthy Communities can help make the case to our lawmakers in Washington that the funding levels in the House appropriations bill must be supported.

The Senate will begin working on its spending bills when it returns to Washington on September 9 after the August recess. The robust funding levels in the spending package passed by the House earlier this year are what we should be urging our members to support. For more details on the House bill, see NLIHC’s analysis and budget chart.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 provides a significant increase for defense and domestic spending over the levels set by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Budget Act increases domestic spending above current levels by $27 billion for FY20 and $29.5 billion for FY21.

Under the agreement, domestic programs will receive a 4.5% increase in funding over FY19 levels, which is $15 billion less than the amount included in the previous House-approved spending bills. The legislation also raises the federal debt ceiling until July 31, 2021.

As background, Non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs include domestic programs outside of national defense that Congress funds on an annual basis. These programs are called “discretionary” because policymakers have the legal discretion to decide their funding levels each year through the appropriations process. In 2019, NDD spending totals $664 billion, or 15 percent of federal spending.