Congress Approves Budget Deal, Ends Brief Shutdown

After a brief government shutdown this morning, Congress approved a two-year budget deal and a continuing resolution that re-opened the government. While the budget deal includes an increase to non-defense spending for FY 2018, there is no guarantee that additional funding will be allocated to housing and community development programs- contact your legislators today to tell them to increase funding for HUD programs in the current fiscal year.

The budget deal package includes:

  • Continuing Resolution: extends government funding through Friday, March 23.
  • New budget caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019: the two-year agreement raises spending caps by $300 billion over two years. The deal does not honor parity between defense and non-defense spending changes. Non-defense spending is raised by:
    • FY 2018- $63 billion
    • FY 2019- $68 billion
  • Additional supplemental disaster relief funding: $89.3 billion for disaster relief for areas impacted by the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017. A full summary of the breakdown of funding is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • Debt ceiling suspension: Lifts the debt ceiling until March 2019.
  • Tax extenders: Continues expiring tax cuts and credits, but the bill does not include the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act (S. 548).

Now that the spending cap for FY 2018 has been set, appropriators can get to work finalizing spending for the current fiscal year. At this point, the process basically starts over again. The chairs of the Appropriations Committee will re-allocate funding to all 12 appropriations bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill.  Once the new 302(b) allocations are set, appropriators will work to finalize spending bills and assemble an omnibus spending package. All this work needs to be completed in six weeks before the expiration of the current CR on March 23.

Just because there is an additional $63 billion in funding for FY 2018 doesn’t mean THUD or HUD will necessarily see any of that increase. It’s critical that you reach out to your legislators immediately to urge them to allocate as much funding as possible to THUD and HUD.  NAHRO will also send a message to Capitol Hill next week encouraging robust funding of THUD and HUD.

Private Activity Bonds Appear Safe in Tax Reform, House Unveils Third CR

According to sources familiar with the on-going negotiations of the tax reform bill, including the Wall Street Journal, the final package will not repeal Private Activity Bonds (PAB), a huge potential win for NAHRO members who advocated strongly against the House-proposed elimination. There is no word yet on the status of New Market Tax Credits or the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

While PAB appears to be preserved, it is possible that the bill will make changes to the program. We’re unsure at this point what the impact of potential changes to PAB would have on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and affordable housing production. NAHRO will continue to update its members as more information is available.

The tax reform conference committee is expected to approve the report tomorrow, at which point either the full text of the bill or the conference report summary will be publicly available. The Senate will begin consideration of the bill on Monday, aiming for final passage on Tuesday. The bill then goes to the House for final approval. If passed by both chambers, the President is expected to immediately sign the bill.

Meanwhile, the House introduced bill text for the third continuing resolution (CR) of FY 2018. The current CR expires on Friday, December 22. The House-proposed bill would provide funding for the government until Friday, January 19. It also includes the House’s FY 2018 Defense Appropriations bill and an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other health programs. The House is likely to pass the bill, but the Senate is not expected to adopt it with the Defense bill included. It’s unclear whether the Senate will simply pass the CR stripped of the Defense spending bill or if there are other concessions that Democrats will require in exchange for their procedural votes to move the bill forward. If Congress does not act quickly enough, the government will shutdown on Saturday, December 23 at 12:01 am ET.

Also expected to be released on Friday is a disaster relief supplemental package that could be considered in conjunction with the CR or as a stand-alone bill. Congressional leadership has prioritized approving the bill prior to the holidays. The administration released a $44 billion disaster package last month, a request that included the conversion of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program into a competitive grant program to help communities that have experienced “major flood disasters” in the past four years. Congress is expected to ignore that request and increase the size of the package substantially. This will be the third disaster supplemental passed since September and lawmakers already recognize the necessity for a fourth supplemental in early 2018.


Tax Reform Proposal Retains LIHTC, Still Devastates Affordable Housing

The House Ways and Means Committee this week released its long-await tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1). While the bill retains the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), one of only two business credits preserved, it eliminates several other taxes and bonds that are critical to community development and affordable housing. If passed as-is, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would be devastating for communities.

The committee is scheduled to begin mark-up of the bill on Monday, November 6 at 12:00 pm ET, a process that is likely to last several days. This means there is very little time to ask lawmakers to propose changes- contact your Representatives now to tell them to preserve the parts of tax code that are so critical to communities.

The text of the bill is available here and supporting documents are available here.

What’s in the Bill

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Maintains the credit
  • Corporate Tax Rate: Cut from 35 percent to 20 percent
  • New Market Tax Credit: Eliminates
  • Private Activity Bonds: Eliminates
  • Historic Preservation Tax Credit: Eliminates
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: Caps at $500,000 for new mortgages, savings not re-invested in affordable housing


The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is preserved, but the 4 percent remains unauthorized. Also missing from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is language proposed by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Ma.) in their Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (HR 1660). Though NAHRO thanks the Ways and Means Committee for retaining the 9 percent credit, NAHRO opposes other changes to bonds and the corporate tax rate will undermine the effectiveness of the program and essentially eliminate the 4 percent credit.

Private Activity Bonds (PABs) are tax-exempt bonds issued by state and local governments to drive private investments in community development, housing (Housing Bonds), infrastructure and educational projects. The bill would remove the tax exemption for PABs, including multifamily Housing Bonds, which helps finance almost half of all affordable homes produced and preserved by LIHTC.

PABs are responsible for almost half of all affordable homes produced by LIHTC annually, and it is a critical tool that must be preserved. Although the public housing inventory is an integral component of our nation’s infrastructure, chronic underfunding of the Capital and Operating Funds has placed the inventory at risk, with a mounting capital needs backlog of well over $26 billion. PHAs often turn to LIHTC to preserve and revitalize their distressed public housing inventory. A one-pager by the ACTION Campaign on the use of LIHTC for preservation and the impact of Rep. Tiberi’s and Rep. Neal’s bill is available here.

NAHRO members typically seek out 4 percent Housing Credits over the 9 percent because they are non-competitive and more accessible. However, to use the 4 percent Housing Credit, projects must be funded in part with tax-exempt bonds. The House bill’s elimination of tax-exempt bonds could completely devastate the production of affordable housing by NAHRO members.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could also severely handicap the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which depends on LIHTC for its success. RAD allows PHAs to leverage public and private debt and equity to address the capital needs backlog of their public housing portfolios. In RAD, units move from a public housing to a Section 8 platform with a long-term contract that must be renewed, ensuring that the units remain affordable to low-income households. HUD data thus far shows LIHTC has been included in the financing for almost half of all RAD transactions, amounting to over 73,000 units being converted. Additionally, of all of the LIHTC-financed properties participating in RAD, 70 percent of those projects specifically depend on the 4 percent Housing Credit. As a cost-neutral program, Congress has supported RAD by expanding its current cap on conversions to 225,000 units, but eliminating PBAs will undermine their support for RAD.

NAHRO opposes the bill’s repeal of this tax exemption since it would severely hinder the financing of LIHTC projects that provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for our nation’s growing share of low-income renter families.

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects, and are targeted at helping low-income communities. Over the last 25 years, about $51 billion in NMTC authority have generated $42 billion in local investments, resulting in the creation or retention of over 700,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs has proven to be an effective tool for generating private sector investments in communities in need, while still remaining a net positive program for the economy. NAHRO supports the continuation of this program.

Historic Tax Credits also have a proven track record of stimulating economic growth while also preserving our valuable national architectural heritage. We believe that these three important instruments for infrastructure creation and preservation should remain part of our economic development toolbox, and hope that they will be restored in later versions of the bill.

What’s Next

The Ways and Means Committee will begin mark-up of the bill on Monday afternoon. Debate of the legislation and amendments are expected to last up to four days.

Leadership is currently working on changes to the bill to secure votes and ensure it meets the procedural requirements for budget reconciliation in the Senate. The President has also urged lawmakers to include a repeal of the individual health care mandate, a move that could politically complicate its passage. Still, House leadership is optimistic that the bill will pass with few Republican defections before Thanksgiving.

The path through the Senate is less clear; Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against the passage of the budget resolution that included the framework for this tax reform legislation and several other Republican Senators have expressed concern about the bill. However, because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is being  moved forward under the budget reconciliation process, only a simple majority is needed to approve the legislation. Leadership is aiming to have the bill to the President’s desk before adjourning for the holiday recess in December.

As the bill moves forward, NAHRO will provide coverage through the blog, Direct News emails, and @NAHRONational on Twitter.


Jenny Hsu also contributed to this article. 

NAHRO Urges Congress to Include LIHTC in Tax Reform

NAHRO sent the following message to all members of Congress, their Legislative Directors, and tax Legislative Assistants this morning. As the tax reform debate takes shape, NAHRO will continue to participate in the conversation on Capitol Hill and engage with our industry partners as a steering committee member of the ACTION Campaign.
NAHRO also thanks its members who joined a letter to lawmakers outlining priorities for tax reform. Over 2,100 organizations joined nationwide, including more than 30 NAHRO members. To send a copy of the letter to your members of Congress and support LIHTC in the tax reform debate, visit NAHRO’s Action Center.
Dear Senator/Representative,
As you begin your tax reform discussions in earnest, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) is pleased to share information with you on the important work local housing and redevelopment agencies do to utilize the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to preserve and redevelop decent, safe, and affordable housing in communities of quality.
We are happy to see that the credit, as well as legislation to improve the utility and effectiveness of LIHTC, are already being considered for inclusion as part of tax reform legislation during the fiscal year 2018.  Specifically, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548 and HR 1661), which contains reform initiatives that will also responsibly address the nation’s current rental housing crisis.
LIHTC is a critical tool that has been used since 1986 to finance affordable housing opportunities for families at 60 percent of area median income.  The credit has also been used in combination with other federal resources, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership program funding to meet the affordable housing needs of the country.  Additionally, LIHTC has been crucial to those undertaking HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which empowers local housing authorities to refinance existing public housing using a combination of private capital, low income tax credits, and other resources.
NAHRO and the ACTION Campaign, of which NAHRO is a Steering Committee member, together thank Congressional leadership and the administration for recognizing the value of LIHTC in the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” and for urging lawmakers to also make the following modifications to modernize our affordable housing delivery system:
  • Retain the tax exemption on multifamily Housing Bonds,
  • Enact the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661), and
  • Make adjustments to LIHTC to ensure its production potential is not negatively impacted by other changes in tax reform.
See the ACTION Campaign’s recent letter to Congress and the Administration, and thank you to the more than 30 NAHRO members who have joined these efforts in the past month.
ACTION has also put together a fact sheet showing how the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act would specifically support the preservation of public housing. See the Senate version here, the House version here, and much more in the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit.
Our ability to continue to provide safe, decent affordable housing for vulnerable families relies in large measure on our ability to act expeditiously on tax reform legislation that will assist local housing agencies in their efforts to meet local housing needs.
NAHRO and ACTION stand ready to assist you and your staff should you have questions or if we can be of general assistance. Please contact Tess Hembree ( or 202-5807225).
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration!
John F. Bohm
Senior Director
NAHRO Congressional Relations


Congress Approves Short-Term Spending Bill

On Friday, September 8, Congress approved a package that included a three-month continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends on September 30, putting an abrupt end to what was expected to be a contentious debate throughout the month of September.

Negotiated by the President, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the package deal was signed by the President immediately after it was approved by Congress. Among other things, the deal includes:

  • Continued government funding until Friday, December 8 with an across-the-board cut of .6791 percent
  • Extension of the debt limit until Friday, December 8
  • $15.25 billion disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey
  • Extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until Friday, December 8


The House also began work on an eight-bill omnibus package last week, including the FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill. It is expected to finish work this week on the omnibus, which will serve as the foundation for negotiations with the Senate when considering a final spending package for the fiscal year.

Congress still needs to come to an agreement on overall spending levels for the year; neither the House nor the Senate have approved budget resolutions, but both chambers wrote appropriations bills based on extremely different spending levels. The House and the Senate both propose an increase in spending, so an agreement will need to be reached on an overall funding level and, presumably, to raise the funding cap for the fiscal year.

Update: Budget and Appropriations as August Recess Ends

As September approaches, time is running out to finalize FY 2018 spending before the beginning of the new fiscal year. Congress adjourned for August recess without making final spending decisions, leaving only 12 legislative days to put in place a bill to keep the government operational beyond the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

Making matters more complicated, the nation is set to reach its debt ceiling on September 29 and unless the ceiling is lifted or suspended, America will not have the ability to pay its current debt obligations. Additionally, the devastating Hurricane Harvey will likely require a significant investment in emergency disaster relief and could impact budget negotiations. And finally, the President has vowed to shut down the government unless funding is included to construct a border wall.

The House and the Senate have taken dramatically different approaches to the upcoming fiscal year that will need to be resolved in order to finalize spending for FY 2018. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen in 12 legislative days, so a continuing resolution (CR) is all but inevitable at this point. The question now is how long will a CR last and can a government shutdown (or greater economic crisis) be avoided?

House Update

The House is struggling to approve a budget resolution, but has been efficient in moving spending bills through committee. In June, the House Budget Committee released a draft budget resolution that provided an additional $72 billion for defense spending, while cutting non-defense programs like HUD by $5 billion. This is a violation of both the caps put in place by the Budget Control Act (BCA) and the required parity in cuts to domestic and defense spending. The proposal increased spending too much for deficit hawks, but did not increase defense spending enough for defense hawks.  After nearly two months of debate within the committee, the budget resolution was narrowly approved in July. It has not been brought to the floor yet for final consideration and it’s unclear whether it could be approved in its current state.

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee drafted and approved spending bills written at the budget resolution level, making deep cuts to domestic programs. On July 17, the House Appropriations Committee voted 31-20 to advance its FY 2018 THUD bill. The bill provides $56.5 billion in funding for the bill, $1.1 billion lower than current spending levels and $8.6 billion above the President’s request for FY 2018.

Considering the President’s budget proposal to slash spending on most HUD programs and the House’s deep cuts to domestic spending, the House THUD spending bill could have been significantly worse. The bill rejects the President’s proposal to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs, though it does cut each by $100 million. It also rejected an attempt by the Administration to slash the Public Housing Capital Fund by 68 percent, though it does cut the program by nearly $100 million from current spending levels.

The Appropriations Committee managed to approve all 12 appropriations bills, but only four were passed on the floor. Unfortunately, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) was not considered on the floor.

Senate Update

The Senate has not considered a budget resolution, but did pass six bills through the full committee, including THUD. The Senate wrote spending bills at the FY 2017 cap level, which is higher than FY 2018 and would trigger across-the-board sequestration cuts. Unless a budget resolution is agreed to, cuts to domestic spending are inevitable.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously on July 27 to approve its FY 2018 THUD bill. The bill provides $60.058 billion in funding overall, $2.407 billion higher than current funding levels and $3.5 billion higher than the House THUD bill. Considering the constraints of the FY 2018 budget cap, the increased THUD allocation is a huge win and allowed appropriators to avoid making the same types of cuts seen in the House THUD bill.

Because of the higher overall spending cap, the Senate’s THUD bill provides level funding for CDBG and HOME, and increases spending for the Public Housing Capital Fund. It also provides $175 million more for Ongoing Administrative Fees.

The Senate has not considered any bills on the floor, including THUD.


When Congress resumes work in September, the House is expected to immediately consider an omnibus spending package to approve all remaining appropriations bills. It’s unclear whether this package of bills written at a controversial spending level can receive enough votes to be approved. Members were instructed to submit amendments to the omnibus bill during the August recess and more than 900 amendments were received by the Rules Committee.

Even if the omnibus is approved by the House, it is unlikely to be approved by the Senate, and it is likely that a CR will need to be approved to give Congress more time to work out the differences between House and Senate spending levels. It’s unclear at this point how much time Congress will give itself, though most initial CRs have been three months long, running out in early- to mid- December.

The passage of a CR could be made more complicated by the need for emergency disaster relief as a result of Hurricane Harvey; in recent years, some lawmakers have insisted that disaster relief be offset by other spending cuts and this debate could reemerge.

It could also be impacted by the debt ceiling, which is estimated the nation will reach on September 29. Recently, the nation has extended the debt ceiling without much debate or fanfare, but some members of Congress and the Administration have said that spending cuts will need to be made in order for them to agree to raising the debt ceiling in September. The last time spending cuts were required to raise the debt ceiling, the Budget Control Act and sequestration were put into place. It’s not clear yet whether the debate next month will rise to that level or if a “clean” extension of the ceiling will be allowed without any cuts.

Additionally, the President has threatened on multiple occasions to shut down the government unless funding is included in FY 2018 to begin construction on a border wall. It is unclear whether he intends to prevent a short-term CR from being put in place next month or if he is aiming for a fight later when FY 2018 spending is being finalized.



Senate Appropriations Approves Transportation, HUD Bill

In other news from the Senate yesterday, the Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve its FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The bill provides $60.058 billion in funding overall, $2.407 billion higher than current funding levels and $3.5 billion higher than the House. Considering the constraints of the FY 2018 budget cap, the increased THUD allocation is a huge win and allowed appropriators to avoid making the same types of cuts seen in the House THUD bill. The House Appropriations Committee approved its bill on July 17.

NAHRO will provide a detailed analysis of the bill next week.

The future of THUD in both the House and the Senate is unclear, though it is unlikely either chamber moves its THUD bill to the floor. Yesterday, the House approved a four-bill minibus package of spending bills, dubbed the “security-bus” because of its composition of defense and security-related bills. The House will likely adjourn for August recess this afternoon without passing any additional spending bills. The Senate, shifting its focus away from health care this morning, delayed August recess by two weeks to work on nominations and the debt ceiling. It may also choose to move appropriations bills to the floor during that time, assuming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not adjourn the Senate earlier than expected.

Housing and Community Development Highlights

  • Rental Assistance Demonstration- cap eliminated, sunset date removed
  • Public Housing Capital Fund- $1.945 billion, $4 million higher than FY 2017
    • Jobs Plus- $15 million, level funded
  • Public Housing Operating Fund- $4.5 billion, $100 million higher than FY 2017
  • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative- $50 million, $87 less than FY 2017
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals- $19.37 billion, $1.015 billion more than FY 2017
  • Administrative Fees- $1.725 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Ongoing Administrative Fees- $1.715 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Additional Administrative Fees- $10 million, level funded
  • Family Self-Sufficiency- $75 million, level funded
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance- $11.507 billion, $691 million higher than FY 2017
  • Community Development Block Grant- $3 billion, level funded
  • HOME Investment Partnerships- $950 million, level funded
  • Homeless Assistance Grants- $2.456 billion, $73 million higher than FY 2017


House Appropriations Releases FY 2018 THUD Bill, Makes Numerous Small Cuts

The House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee released the text of its FY 2018 bill late last night. Overall, the bill makes numerous small cuts to many HUD programs, continuing a trend of disinvestment in already chronically underfunded programs. However, considering the low top-line level for non-defense programs proposed by the House Budget Committee, the cuts could have been significantly worse.

The full T-HUD bill received $56.5 billion, which is $1.1 billion less than the current fiscal year, but a whopping $8.6 billion above the President’s request. The cuts are evenly split between DOT and HUD.

Housing and Community Development Highlights

  • Public Housing Capital Fund – $1.85 billion, $92 million less than FY 2017
    • Competitive Lead-Based Paint Grants – $0, $25 million less than FY 2017
    • Jobs Plus – $15 million, level funded
  • Public Housing Operating Fund – $4.4 billion, level funded
  • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative – $20 million, $118 less than FY 2017
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals – $18.71 billion, $355 million higher than FY 2017
    • Administrative Fees – $1.55 billion, $100 million less than FY 2017
  • Family Self-Sufficiency – $75 million, level funded
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance – $11.082 billion, $266 million higher than FY 2017
  • Community Development Block Grant – $2.9 billion, $100 million less than FY 2017
  • HOME Investment Partnerships – $850 million, $100 million less than FY 2017
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – $356 million, level funded
  • Homeless Assistance Grants – $2.383 billion, level funded

The subcommittee will mark up the bill tonight at 7:00 pm EDT (sadly, that time is not a typo). You can watch what is likely to be a very quick voice vote here. The bill will move to full committee next week (where amendments will be considered), but it is unlikely to be brought to the floor of the House. The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee could move on its THUD spending bill as early as next week.

Your advocacy efforts have worked to oppose the President’s devastating budget proposal, but your members of Congress need to continue hear from you about the impact that budget cuts have had in your community and the impact further cuts will have. August recess is just around the corner and is a perfect opportunity for you to voice those concerns- watch for NAHRO’s August Advocacy agenda coming soon.

Friday Night Wrap-Up: 2016 Congressional Election Results

As the dust settles in DC, the only thing that is clear about President-Elect Trump is that no one has a firm grasp on how he will run his executive branch or what his plans for the Department of Housing and Urban Development might be. I know there is a lot of information coming out of DC about what the new Administration will do or how to respond, but we believe at this point that it is simply too soon to judge.

Trump spent Wednesday meeting with his top advisers in New York City to begin the process of establishing his transition team and drafting short lists for cabinet positions. Yesterday, the President-Elect and his Vice President traveled to Washington to meet with President Obama in the White House and Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. In keeping with Trump’s heavy emphasis on social media during the campaign, the transition team has set up a Twitter account- @TransitionTeam2017.

We are hearing a lot of rumors about who has been selected to serve on the transition team and who might be on the short-list for the HUD Secretary. We have our ear to the ground and are involved in these conversations, but at this time it’s a little premature to name anyone as the sources are likely rumors. That said, the names we are hearing are familiar to us and are similar to lists from prior Republican administrations, including individuals who have worked at HUD previously.

Weeks prior to the election, we began the process of drafting NAHRO’s transition memo for the HUD transition team. In it we outline who we are as an organization, what you as our members do and the impact you have on your communities, and our goals and priorities for the incoming administration. We’re working to finalize the memo now and expect to have it ready to send to the transition team this week. We’ll also share it with NAHRO members once it’s finalized.

Despite choosing a to send a Washington outsider who has never held elected office to the White House,  Americans largely decided to stick with their incumbent members of Congress. This is important because while there is a lot of uncertainty over how President-Elect Trump will run his executive branch and how the dynamics of having a Republican in the Oval office will change Washington, we are very familiar with the incoming 115th Congress. Our allies are still in office, most of the committees of jurisdiction are likely to remain the same, and we have a sense of the Congressional leadership and its goals. President-Elect Trump undoubtedly has major changes in store for us, but we are very knowledgeable about the incoming 115th Congress and we are ready for it.

The relative stability of the Congress means there is also likely to be stability within the committees (with the exception of Financial Services). However, Republicans are only allowed to serve two terms as Chair and two terms as Ranking Member of a committee, so that will trigger shifting between committees that will impact committee composition. Also, the number of seats a party receives on a committee is determined by the size of their majority, and since Republicans did lose a small amount of their majority, that will also impact committees.

Senate Results

The wave that Democrats were optimistic would propel them into the majority in the Senate never materialized and so far they have only managed to pick up two seats (Louisiana’s Senate race will be decided by a run-off election on December 3). As of today, the Senate is split 51-48 with a Republican majority. There will only be six new Senators taking office in January: Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and whoever is elected in Louisiana to replace the retiring Sen. David Vitter (R). It is possible that additional seats will open up in the Senate if sitting members join the Trump administration.

Appropriations Committee

Only two Senators on the Appropriations Committee will be departing Congress: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and current Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will remain chair in the 115th Congress, but the Ranking Member position is open. Since Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is likely to keep his top position on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) appears to be first in line for the job. Assuming she does not run for a leadership role within the Democratic Party, it is likely she would take the job. If she doesn’t, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cali.) is likely to take over. We believe the current Transportation, Housing and Urban Development leadership of Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D- R.I.) will keep their jobs, though that could change if there is shifting between committees or subcommittees.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Similarly, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has only two members leaving Congress: Sen. Kirk and Sen. Vitter. The current Chairman Richard Shelby (D-Ala.) is term-limited, so Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) is likely to take the top spot. We believe current Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will remain in his position. I haven’t heard much about whether the leadership of the Housing , Transportation, and Community Development will change, but unless they shift to other subcommittees, Chairman Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) I would think are likely to stick around.

House Results

Democrats were always skeptical about their ability to take the majority, but most believed they could net between 10-20 seats. So far, they’ve only managed to pick up seven seats, though four are still too close to call.  At this point, there will be 53 new members of Congress joining us here in Washington in January, which is about 12 percent of the House.


In total, there will be six members of the Appropriations Committee leaving Congress, split evenly between the parties. The three Republicans are: David Jolly (R-Fla.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.), and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.). The three departing Democrats are: Sam Farr (D-Cali.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa., technically he left Congress over the summer), and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) made it clear months ago that he has no intention of asking for a term-limit wavier to keep his top spot on the committee, and conventional wisdom is that Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J) will take over. Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is likely to stay on in her position.

Financial Services

Between retirements and election losses, there will be significant turnover on the Financial Services Committee, largely from the majority. Republicans will see eight members leave the committee: Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Robert Hurt (R-Va.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), and Frank Guinta (R-N.H.). Democrats only have three members leaving Congress: Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), John Carney (D-Del.), and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). We believe Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) will remain in their positions. Hensarling’s name has appeared on the short-list for Secretary Treasury. Though he very quickly expressed strong disinterest in the position, it is possible he will have a position within the Trump administration. We also believe the Housing and Insurance Chair Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) are likely to keep their positions, which is promising given the progress they were able to make last year.

Lame Duck

The current, 114th Congress returns to Washington this week following the election for the lame duck session. On Wednesday, House Republicans will meet in private to hash out their leadership candidates, which should be interesting. It appears that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Ohio) will retain the speakership, but I’ve learned over and over again in this city to never completely rule out a surprise. House Democrats will meet on Thursday.

It’s still unclear what impact the election will have on finalizing spending for FY 2017, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Regardless, our message of finalizing THUD spending that we’ve been pushing since they passed the CR in September remains unchanged.

John and I are also spending the lame duck connecting with members of Congress who will be influential in housing and community development in the 115th Congress (and, of course, wrapping up the lame duck session). Keep an eye out for emails from us as we may need your advocacy assistance.