The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve a FY 2019 Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) spending bill that maintains nearly all the gains made by the FY 2018 omnibus and increases funding to some programs. This is a huge win for NAHRO members, as the overall allocation for T-HUD was lower and could have resulted in spending cuts for housing and community development. This Direct News item provides basic information about the bill; detailed analyses of the bill’s implications for Section 8, Public Housing, and Community Development programs will follow tomorrow.
The Senate T-HUD bill maintains funding for most programs that saw significant increases in the FY 2018 omnibus, including the HOME program that was cut by the House. The only loser in the Senate bill is the Choice Neighborhoods program, which was cut by $50 million.
One bright spot in the bill is the increase to Ongoing Administrative Fees; the Senate bill provides a $197 million increase over current spending levels and the House’s proposed T-HUD bill. While NAHRO is appreciative of the committee for its understanding of the importance of admin fees in ensuring the safety of residents and the effective administration of the Section 8 program, it must be noted that the increase does fall short of full funding. NAHRO continues to fight for full funding of admin fees.
Though the overall allocation for the T-HUD bill is lower than the House allocation, the Senate bill significantly favors HUD funding over transportation; spending on HUD is increased by $1.8 billion, whereas funding for DOT is cut by nearly $700 million. While cuts to DOT also hurt low-income Americans, NAHRO appreciates the committee’s focus on the dire need for more investments in housing and community development.
Spending on housing is also high compared to transportation funding in the House-proposed T-HUD bill. This demonstrates that the work NAHRO members are doing to highlight the importance of housing and community development funding is continuing to pay off. NAHRO members should be proud that their advocacy is having a tangible impact on spending legislation, even in a year when overall federal spending is nearly flat.
- Public Housing Capital Fund: $2.775 billion, $25 million higher than both current funding levels and the proposed House level
- Public Housing Operating Fund: $4.756 billion, $206 million higher than current funding levels and the proposed House level
- Choice Neighborhoods: $100 million, $50 million lower than current funding levels and the proposed House level
- Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals: $20.520, $920 million higher than current funding levels and $413 million higher than the proposed House level
- Ongoing Administrative Fees: $1.927 billion, $197 million higher than current funding levels and the proposed House level
- Family Self-Sufficiency: $80 million, $5 million higher than both current funding levels and the proposed House level
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance: $11.747 billion, $232 million higher than current funding levels and equal to the proposed House level
- Community Development Block Grant: $3.3 billion, level funding compared to both current funding levels and the proposed House bill
- HOME Investment Partnerships: $1.362 billion, level funding compared to current funding levels and $162 million higher than the proposed House bill
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS: $375 million, level funding compared to current funding levels and $18 million lower than the proposed House bill
- Homeless Assistance Grants: $2.612 billion, $99 million higher than current funding levels and $66 million higher than the proposed House bill
Also included in the bill is the creation of a regulatory advisory committee to do a “comprehensive review of existing public housing and tenant-based rental assistance regulations…to identify opportunities to streamline the administration of such programs.” The advisory committee will be comprised of a number of stakeholders, including public housing agencies.
The bill now moves to the Senate floor, though the timeline for considering spending bills is unclear. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced this week the cancellation of most of the August recess to allow the Senate to work on nominations and spending bills.
A package of three spending bills is currently being considered on the House floor. While T-HUD wasn’t included in this first “minibus,” it is possible that the bill could be included in the next minibus if the House brings more spending packages to the floor.