June 30, 2017
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On June 28, the House Appropriations Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee approved by voice vote its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill, which provides funding for the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) rural housing programs.

The Subcommittee-passed bill includes $20 billion for discretionary programs, which is $876 million less than the FY 2017 enacted level but $4.64 billion more than the Administration's FY 2018 budget request. Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) explained during the Subcommittee markup of the bill that while he believes Congress must work to rein in the federal government's debt, this should not be done at the expense of critical programs serving rural communities.

The bill includes funding for several rural housing programs that were slated for elimination in the Administration's FY 2018 budget request, including the Section 502 single-family direct loan program and the Section 515 multifamily direct loan program. Chairman Aderholt noted in the markup that, although the Subcommittee chose not to eliminate these programs, they had to spread funding cuts out across several programs in order to adhere to their very limited FY 2018 allocation. The bill cuts the Section 502 and 515 direct loan programs of 10 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The bill also cuts Section 521 Rental Assistance to $1.4 billion in FY 2018, which is $60 million or 4 percent less than the FY 2017 enacted level and equal to the Administration’s FY 2018 request.

The bill provides $24 billion in loan authority for the Section 502 single-family guaranteed loan program, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level as well as the Administration's FY 2018 request. The bill also provides $230 million in loan authority for Section 538 multifamily guaranteed loan program, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level and $20 million less than the Administration's FY 2018 request.

Like the Administration's FY 2018 Budget request, the subcommittee-passed bill proposes a Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants program, which would be partially funded by consolidating the Section 504 and Section 533 rural housing grants. However, it would provide $122.7 million for this new account rather than the $162 million proposed by the Administration. Both versions set aside half of total funding for Appalachia.

We expect the Subcommittee-passed bill to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee when that chamber returns from the upcoming July 4th recess. NCSHA will report on this and other upcoming appropriations markups when they are scheduled.

Contact NCSHA's Althea Arnold with questions.