House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2018 Housing Bill Despite Funding Level Opposition
On July 17, the House Appropriations Committee voted on party lines to pass the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. The bill provides $38.3 billion in total net discretionary spending on HUD programs, $483 million less than the FY 2017 enacted level. Program funding levels are unchanged from the version the THUD Subcommittee reported on July 11, including $850 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships program, which is $100 million less than last year.
In his statement, THUD Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) said that the Subcommittee had to make difficult funding choices in order to accommodate a $1 billion increase in the cost of rental assistance contract renewals necessary due to inflation. Several Committee members, including THUD Subcommittee Ranking Member David Price (D-NC), expressed frustration that the bill’s overall allocation is insufficient to provide adequate funding for many programs under the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, and urged their colleagues to work toward a new bipartisan budget deal to raise the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). Price said that without addressing these budget caps, Congress would be only able to rearrange program funding but could not provide enough resources for all of the critical programs in the Subcommittee’s purview.
The committee accepted an amendment offered by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) to allow Section 202 sponsors who have Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs) as their underlying rental subsidy to convert their PRACs to a Section 8 subsidy stream platform (either Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance or Project-Based Vouchers) under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Committee members introduced several other housing-related amendments but none of them passed. These included an amendment Price introduced to provide an additional $200 billion in infrastructure investments, including $26 billion for HUD programs, and an amendment introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to increase HOME funding to $1.2 billion. After Diaz-Balart stated that he would oppose these amendments because they would violate the Subcommittee’s allocation, they failed along party lines.