Congress and Trump Administration Strike Deal to Lift Spending Caps

Congress and the White House announced yesterday evening an agreement to lift the low federal spending caps on defense and domestic priorities by $320 billion for fiscal years (FYs) 2020 and 2021. The House will vote on the proposal this week before leaving for recess through September 9, and the Senate will likely vote next week. The deal also raises the federal debt ceiling until July 31, 2021.

The two-year budget agreement provides a significant increase for defense and domestic spending over the levels set by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The proposal will increase domestic spending above current levels by $27 billion for FY20 and $29 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 amounts included in the House-approved spending bills.

As part of the agreement, House Democrats have promised to exclude policy riders from spending bills for the next two fiscal years. Some Democrats have expressed concerns the deal does not include restrictions on the use of funds for the construction of a border wall, and some Republicans object to the lack of spending offsets that will exacerbate the deficit.

It is critical for advocates to continue to urge Congress to provide the highest level of funding possible for affordable housing and community development. Now that congressional leadership has reached an agreement, the Senate will begin working on their spending bills. The robust spending package passed by the House earlier this year is likely the high-water mark for housing and community development programs – advocates should urge their members of Congress to fund those programs at the House-approved levels. For more details on the House bill, see NLIHC’s analysis and budget chart.

The 2019 CoC NOFA is Here

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted the 2019 CoC Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The programs funded by this NOFA continue to be the most important tools for building local systems that identify everyone who becomes homeless, keeps them safe, and helps them get back into housing quickly.

Read the Alliance’s analysis of this year’s NOFA >>>

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Continues to Build Bipartisan Support

As of July 22, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) has already garnered bipartisan support in the Senate and House, including ten new Senate co-sponsors. The bill was reintroduced in both the Senate (S. 1703) and the House (H.R. 3077) on June 4. Joining the Senate bill’s author Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and original co-sponsors Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) are Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Angus King, Jr. (I-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO). The identical House bill, introduced by Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and original co-sponsors Representatives Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), has also gained bipartisan support with 54 current co-sponsors.

Enterprise strongly supports the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and applauds these Members for supporting the Housing Credit and providing communities with much-needed additional affordable housing. Learn more about the AHCIA on Enterprise’s blog, here.

New Analysis: Gender Minorities are More Likely to Be Unsheltered

This month, the Alliance kicks off the Demographic Data Project, which examines 2018 Point-in-Time Count data to better understand rates of homelessness among different populations, and promote equity in serving them. The first installment explores the high rates of unsheltered homelessness among transgender and gender non-binary people experiencing homelessness.

Read the brief and check out new interactive tools >>>

Unanimous Committee Approval of Disaster Housing Bill

The House Financial Services Committee just voted unanimously to approve H.R. 3702, the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019,” The bill now heads to the House floor, and we expect a similar bill to be introduced in the Senate soon.

The final bill includes virtually all the critical reforms proposed by DHRC members to help ensure the federal government’s long-term disaster recovery program – Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBD-DR) grants – better serve the lowest-income survivors and their communities. If enacted, the bill would help target CDBG-DR resources to survivors with the greatest needs, ensure greater data transparency and oversight, protect civil rights and fair housing, and encourage disaster mitigation and resiliency.

For more details on the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, see the DHRC’sfactsheet and NLIHC’s press release on the vote.

To help build on this success, we are asking all members and partners tocall your representatives and urge them to sponsor H.R. 3702.

Congress and the White House Inch Closer to a Two-Year Budget Deal

White House officials and congressional leaders are reportedly closing in on a two-year budget agreement that would raise spending caps and lift the debt ceiling until at least July 2021. The current two-year budget deal is set to expire on October 1. Lawmakers must raise spending caps before then to avoid sequestration, or across-the-board spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which applies through fiscal year 2021.

Sequestration would have devastating effects on funding for housing and community development programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, without a new budget deal to raise the caps, nonmilitary discretionary spending would be cut by $55 billion, roughly a ten percent drop compared to fiscal year 2019 levels. Although details of the negotiations have not been released, reports suggest that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have agreed to spending cap increases for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. The two parties have reportedly negotiated approximately $75 billion in offsets as part of this agreement.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has previously stated that his committee will not begin marking up appropriations bills until lawmakers reach a budget deal. The House has already passed 10 out of 12 appropriations bills including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), Agriculture, and Financial Services and General Government (FSGG). To urge Congress to enact a two-year budget deal that would raise spending caps at least a high as those already passed by the House and prevent a potential default on the national debt, join the Coalition on Human Needs on its national call in day today.

JCHS Report Sheds Light on Lack of Affordable Housing Production

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its annual report last month, “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2019.” The report examines the state of the housing market in 2018, finding that, while the housing market improved in many respects over the previous year, including household growth and formations, the continued — and worsening — production shortfall has led to an increasing number of low- and moderate-income families who lack access to affordable housing options.

JCHS released the report during an event held at the Atlanta Federal Reserve. The release was followed by a panel discussion featuring Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Chris Herbert, managing director of the JCHS; Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity; and Carol Tomé, CFO of The Home Depot. Amy Scott, a senior correspondent covering housing for the Marketplace, served as moderator. Watch the event in its entirety here.