Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2020 Minibus Spending Package
On October 31, the Senate passed a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) minibus spending package that includes four of the dozen appropriations bills that fund the government — Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD. Critical affordable housing and community development programs mostly received level funding with Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), as lawmakers rejected the cuts contained in the President’s budget request. Overall, the spending bill provides HUD programs with more than $11.9 billion above the President’s FY20 request and $2.3 billion above FY19 enacted levels.
Multiple amendments with bipartisan support also cleared the Senate, including several related to affordable housing. These include: Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Patty Murray’s (D-WA) amendment allowing owners of properties financed through USDA Section 514 and 515 loans to extend affordability provisions an additional 20 years; Senator Shaheen’s (D-NH) amendment creating a tax incentive for owners of manufactured home communities to transfer properties to nonprofit organizations and residents; Senator Heinrich’s (D-NM) amendment providing a modest increase in funding to tribal housing authorities and their homeless veteran programs; Senator Hassan’s (D-NH) amendment calling on HUD to conduct a review of insurance programs meant to increase access to affordable housing and reduce evictions for high risk populations; and Senator Portman’s (R-OH) amendment allowing HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program to support the Family Unification Program.
The House and Senate must now try to reach a final agreement on bipartisan, bicameral funding levels. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and House Chairwomen Nita Lowey (D-NY) are set to meet this week to further advance negotiations. With the current stopgap continuing resolution set to expire on November 21, the House will vote this week on a measure to keep federal agencies open by passing a second stopgap spending measure. For more information on funding levels of key housing programs see Enterprise’s blog post on the topic.