After seven months and three continuing resolutions, Congress on Thursday finally approved, and the President on Friday signed, an omnibus spending bill of all 11 remaining appropriations bills, including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
The $1.07 trillion deal provides funding for federal departments and agencies until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017. The bill contains level funding or a slight increase to most housing and community development programs, with few exceptions.
The bill was passed on a bipartisan basis easily in both the House and the Senate. On Wednesday, the House approved the bill by 309 to 118 and on Thursday the Senate approved it by 79-18, sending the omnibus to the President for his signature. President Trump signed the bill this afternoon.
The final passage of the omnibus ends more than seven months of delays in finalizing spending for the current fiscal year. Initially opting to postpone making final spending decisions until after the election, Congress approved a short-term spending bill that ran out in mid-December, with the intention of wrapping up work on the fiscal year during the lame duck. However, the then President-elect signaled to Congress that he would like to have input on spending in the current fiscal year, so legislators passed a short-term bill until April 28. Congressional leadership, close to wrapping up negotiations, signaled last week that they needed an additional week of time, requiring the passage of yet another week-long continuing resolution.
The path to a deal was bumpy, but far less rocky than it could have been. Controversial policy riders and requests from the President to fund a border wall with Mexico and an increase defense spending were omitted, likely delaying a larger battle for later in the year. Critically, the parity between defense and non-defense spending was also maintained, a huge victory in a difficult political environment.
NAHRO Acting CEO John Bohm called upon Congress to begin work immediately on a responsible 2018 federal spending bill and expressed concern regarding the year-over-year need to approve continuing resolutions. “Despite promises to return to regular order with regard to the appropriations process,” Bohm said, “NAHRO members continue to struggle to meet local needs given the uncertainties and delays inherent in the approval of continuing resolutions. With the 2018 fiscal year to begin in a mere four months (including the annual August recess) there is at this point every assurance that we will be operating under yet another CR come October. We can do better than this to help those in need.”
Below is a summary of the FY 2017 housing and community development funding levels. The NAHRO Policy Staff has conducted a detailed analysis of the Public Housing, Section 8 and Community Development provisions and funding levels. NAHRO Members can read each of these deep-dive analysis documents on the NAHRO website:
Housing and Community Development Funding Levels
- Public Housing Programs
- Public Housing Capital Fund – $1.9415 billion, $41.5 million higher than FY 2016
- Competitive Lead-Based Paint Grants – $25 million, new program
- ROSS – $35 million, level funding
- Emergency Capital Needs – $21.5 million, $500,000 less than FY 2016
- Jobs Plus – $15 million, level funding
- PH Financial Physical Assessment – $10 million, $7 million higher than FY 2016
- Public Housing Operating Fund – $4.4 billion, $100 million less than FY 2016
- Choice Neighborhoods Initiative – $137.5 million, $12.5 million higher than FY 2016
- Family Self-Sufficiency – $75 million, level funding
- RAD – expanded to 225,000 units
- Section 8 Programs
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance – $20.292 billion
- Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals – $18.355 billion, $663 million higher than FY 2016
- Ongoing Administrative Fees – $1.64 billion, level funding
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance – $10.816 billion, $196 million higher than FY 2016
- Community Development Programs
- Community Development Block Grant – $3 billion, level funding
- HOME Investment Partnerships – $950 million, level funding
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – $356 million, $21 million higher than FY 2016
- Homeless Assistance Grants – $2.383 billion, $133 million higher than FY 2016