February 23, 2011

On February 19, the House passed, by a vote of 235 to 189, its version of a continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 1. The bill would cut approximately $61 billion from the FY 2010 funding level and approximately $100 billion from the President’s FY 2011 Budget request.  The bill will now move to the Senate for further consideration.  Congress has not passed any of the regular FY 2011 appropriations bills, so all federally funded agencies continue to operate under a CR that maintains funding at the FY 2010 level until March 4, when it expires. As outlined in NCSHA's February 14 blog, H.R. 1 would:

  • Fund the HOME program at $1.65 billion, $175 million, or 10 percent, less than the FY 2010 level of $1.825 billion;
  • Fund Housing Choice Vouchers at $18.08 billion (including advanced appropriations), $104 million, or 1 percent, less than the FY 2010 level of $18.184 billion;
  • Fund Project-Based Section 8 rental assistance at $9.282 billion (including advanced appropriations), $730 million, or 9 percent, more than the FY 2010 level of $8.552 billion; and
  • Fund the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at $1.5 billion, $2.49 billion, or 62 percent, less than the FY 2010 level of $3.99 billion.

Additionally, the CR would cut the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program by 71 percent to $238 million, cut the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program by 70 percent to $90 million, and eliminate all funding for HUD’s housing counseling assistance program, the HOPE VI program for the revitalization of severely distressed public housing, and the Energy Innovation Fund.  The CR proposes to maintain homeless assistance grants funding at the FY 2010 level. None of the amendments agreed to during the days of floor debate on H.R. 1 changed the housing-related spending amounts included in the CR as introduced.

Senate Democratic leaders have stated that they support a CR containing an Administration-proposed spending freeze, but believe that the House-passed CR contains cuts that are too extreme.  Additionally, President Obama issued a veto threat against the legislation in a February 15 Statement of Administration Policy. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) stated he will not pass a CR extension that does not include spending cuts and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Republicans would negotiate an extension with Democrats that includes some "interim spending cuts."

The Senate and House are both out of session this week for the President's Day recess, leaving them one week once they return to D.C. to reach agreement on FY 2011 spending before the current CR expires. If an agreement on funding levels for the remainder of FY 2011 is not reached or some variation of the CR is not extended before March 5, the federal government would face a shutdown.  All parties involved claim they do not want to reach that point and that a shutdown can be avoided.