House Subcommittee Convenes to Mark Up FY 2020 USDA Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies met last month to mark up a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies.

Subcommittee members focused their pre-vote remarks during the markup predominately on programs concerning food production and farming rather than rural housing. No amendments were proposed during the markup. The bill was favorably reported out of the Subcommittee by a voice vote.

The bill includes funding for USDA’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs. Highlights of the proposed funding levels for some RHS programs promoting affordable housing in rural communities are below.

  • The Section 502 Single Family Housing Direct Loan Program would be funded at $1 billion, a $100 million decrease from FY 2019 enacted funding levels. The Administration marked the Direct Loan Program for elimination in its FY 2020 and FY 2019 budget requests.
  • The Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Program would be funded at $24 billion, equal to its enacted FY 2019 funding levels.
  • $45 million would be designated for the Section 515 Multi-Family Housing Direct Loan Program, an increase of $5 million from the program’s enacted funding levels for FY 2019. The Administration marked the program for elimination in its FY 2020 and FY 2019 budget requests.
  • The Section 538 Guaranteed Multi-Family Housing Loan Program would receive $250 million, a $20 million increase from its enacted FY 2019 funding levels.
  • Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance would be funded at $1.375 billion, a 3 percent increase in funding levels from the $1.331 billion appropriated in FY 2019.
  • The Section 542 Rural Development Voucher Program would be funded at $35 million, an $8 million increase from enacted FY 2019 funding levels.
  • Vouchers are available to any low-income household residing in a property financed with a Section 515 loan that has been prepaid after September 30, 2005.
  • The bill also directs the Secretary of Agriculture to administer the vouchers in alignment, when possible, with regulations governing the administration of HUD Section 8 housing vouchers.
  • The Secretary is also authorized to use any surplus funding not needed for the voucher program toward the rental preservation demonstration program described below.

$40 million would be appropriated for the multifamily rental preservation demonstration for the preservation and revitalization of Section 514, 515, and 516 properties — a $15 million increase from enacted FY 2019 funding levels. The Administration’s FY 2020 Budget Request marked the demonstration program for elimination. If it is determined that more funding is required for the Section 542 voucher program, the Secretary is authorized to divert funds from the demonstration program to fund additional vouchers. For more information regarding the bill, please contact Glenn Gallo.

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