This afternoon the Senate voted 92-6 to approve a four-bill spending package that includes the FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill.
Details on the Senate’s THUD bill can be found here (NAHRO log-in required). The bill was passed without major changes; no funding levels were altered and only a couple of housing-related amendments were approved, including one on mapping the presence of a pyrrhotite across the country and eviction protections for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
The FY 2019 THUD bill generally maintains the spending gains achieved in by the FY 2018 omnibus bill that increased HUD spending by 10 percent. This is a major victory considering funding for the overall federal budget is not increasing significantly in FY 2019 and the spending allocation for the Senate’s THUD bill was lower than the House THUD allocation. Despite these obstacles, housing programs fared well compared to most of the transportation programs funded by the bill, demonstrating the effectiveness of NAHRO members’ advocacy efforts.
Though the passage of the FY 2019 THUD bill is a major step toward finalizing spending, the path forward from here is unclear. The House FY 2019 THUD bill contains several controversial policy riders (largely transportation-related) and both members of the Democratic Party and the conservative House Freedom Caucus are unhappy with funding levels contained in the bill. As a result, THUD is seen as one of the more controversial spending bills this year and is unlikely to be brought to the House floor as a stand-alone bill.
Because Congress is unlikely to finalize FY 2019 THUD spending before the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1, 2018, a continuing resolution will be needed to keep THUD programs operating. A continuing resolution is a stop-gap bill that maintains previous year spending levels until a set date, allowing Congress additional time to finalize spending. Conversations about a CR have not yet begun in Congress, but like recent years, it’s probable that a CR would last until late November or early December.