House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees Report FY 2015 Rural Housing Funding Bills
On May 20, both the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Subcommittees approved their respective FY 2015 appropriations bills, which provide funding for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) rural housing programs.
According to the House Subcommittee’s press release, the House bill, which was reported out of Subcommittee by voice vote, includes $20.9 billion in discretionary funding, equal to the FY 2014 enacted funding level.
The bill would provide $1 billion for the Section 502 single-family unsubsidized loan program, $142 million more than the FY 2014 enacted level and $682 million more than the President’s FY 2015 Budget request. The bill would provide $24 billion for the Section 502 unsubsidized guaranteed loan program, equal to the FY 2014 enacted level and the President’s request.
The bill would also provide $28 million for the Section 515 rural rental housing program and $150 million for the Section 538 multifamily loan guarantee program. The bill includes language allowing the USDA Secretary to charge or adjust any fees to cover the projected cost of the Section 538 loan guarantees. The bill states that the interest on those loans may not be subsidized.
The bill would provide $1 billion for rental assistance. It also includes $8 million for the Section 542 rural housing voucher program, which provides vouchers for families living in Section 515-assisted properties whose owners prepay their mortgages. The bill would fund the rural multifamily preservation and revitalization program at $20 million.
During the House Subcommittee markup, no members offered amendments or made comments specific to rural housing. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, stated, “While it is always difficult to fund worthwhile programs at high levels due to the budget constraints we work under, I am proud that we have provided responsible funding for programs and services vital to our rural communities such as rural housing loans, water and waste facilities, and rural electric and broadband services.” Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) commented that the Subcommittee received more than 3,900 requests for funding and language provisions for the bill from 326 Representatives.
The House Appropriations Committee has not yet announced when it will consider the bill.
The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Subcommittee also reported its bill on a voice vote and no amendments were offered. The Subcommittee has not yet released its bill. A bill summary released after the markup states the bill includes $20.575 billion in funding for its programs. It states that the discretionary funding level is $90 million less than the FY 2014 enacted level.
Subcommittee Chairman Mark Pryor (D-AR) highlighted during the markup, and the summary states, that the bill provides $1.09 billion for rental assistance, $16 million less than the FY 2014 level, and renews all expiring rental assistance agreements. The summary also states the bill would make available almost $25 billion for single-family housing loans, which would provide homeownership opportunities to more than 170,000 rural households. In a section describing reform provisions, the summary says the bill would prohibit rental assistance renewals for less than 12 months, which it says would save $15 million and “force project managers to better administer their resources.”
The full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the bill on May 22, when it is also expected to announce and approve the FY 2015 funding allocations to its subcommittees, including the Agriculture and T-HUD Subcommittees.
The House Transportation-HUD (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee reported its bill on May 7 and the full House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill on May 21. The Senate T-HUD Subcommittee has not announced a date for its markup or released its FY 2015 funding bill. See NCSHA’s funding chart for additional information on HUD and USDA housing program funding levels.