Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill. The legislation provides HUD with $40.2 billion in net discretionary spending, an increase of $1.4 billion over FY 2017 and nearly $2 billion more than the House’s version of the bill, which was passed in mid-July. Most of the increases in the Senate bill go toward renewing existing Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and Project-Based Rental Assistance voucher contracts. Public housing and housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities also saw funding increases, while the HOME Investments Partnership Program (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development Program (Section 4) all received level funding compared to FY 2017. For more information on program funding levels see Enterprise’s Senate THUD Bill blog post and FY 2018 budget chart.
Both the House and Senate THUD bills rejected the Administration’s policy proposals to increase housing costs for the lowest-income rental assistance recipients. The Senate committee report stated that it was “unfortunate that the Department is seeking to achieve much of its cost-saving on the backs [of] its tenant population, a significant portion of which is elderly or disabled.”
In the absence of a budget agreement, which traditionally dictates topline (overall) numbers for appropriators, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked-up its legislation to FY 2017 levels, which is $7.5 billion higher than the $511 billion topline numbers the House Appropriations Committee used to markup their bill. If Congress is unable to come to an agreement that raises the budget caps it is currently operating under, then appropriations bills including THUD would need to fit within the $516 billion non-defense discretionary cap set by the Budget Control Act of 2011. See the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding’s (CHCDF) letter to Congress to learn more about the importance of raising the budget caps and fully investing in affordable housing and community development programs.