The House and Senate Appropriations Committees marked up and passed their respective FY18 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bills. Both bills repudiated many of the Trump Administration’s budget proposals by offering markedly higher funding to critical housing programs including the Housing Choice Voucher program, the Community Development Block Grant, and the HOME Investment Partnership program, with the Senate bill making the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness permanent. Following the Senate Committee markup, the Committee released its report detailing their funding requests within the context of Senate policy objectives.
The House Bill’s discretionary funding level for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) totals $38.3 billion, a decrease of $487 million below the FY17 enacted level and $6.9 billion above President Trump’s request. The Senate set the HUD discretionary funding level at $40.244 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion above the FY17 enacted level, $1.94 billion above the FY18 House request, and $8.84 billion above President Trump’s request for FY18. In strong and unambiguous language, both Committees rejected the Trump Administration’s proposals to raise maximum tenant rents to 35 percent of gross income, establish mandatory minimum rents, and eliminate utility allowance reimbursements, citing concerns that the “controversial rent reforms... have not been subject to authorizing committee vetting and approval.”
We are especially heartened that the Senate Committee has also proposed to lift the 185,000 total unit cap. CLPHA has consistently advocated for lifting the unit cap, which we believe arbitrarily limited opportunities for housing authorities to recapitalize their properties and improve health and safety conditions. The Senate Committee’s proposals bolster our efforts.
The funding levels proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee have yet to be conferenced with the House Appropriations Committee through a reconciliation process. That process is expected to begin once both chambers are back in session in September.