House Passes FY 2015 HUD Bill with Significant Cuts to HOME and Other Housing Programs
On June 10, the House passed by a vote of 229 to 192 its FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill, H.R. 4745.
The House adopted several housing-related amendments during consideration of the bill. The House accepted by voice vote an amendment offered by Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) to increase by $10 million the funding available within the homeless assistance grants program for the Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program. It also accepted an amendment offered by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) to increase by $2 million the funding available within the homeless assistance grants program for the national homeless data analysis project.
The House adopted Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D-TX) amendment to increase by $10 million, to $56 million, funding for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program by transferring funds from HUD’s Information Technology (IT) account.
The House adopted by a vote of 210 to 209 Representative Aaron Schock’s (R-IL) amendment to prohibit HUD from issuing Housing Choice Vouchers (vouchers) that exceed 120 percent of fair market rent (FMR) value. Currently, at the request of a public housing agency (PHA), the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing may approve an exception payment standard if certain conditions are met.
The House accepted by voice vote an amendment offered by Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) to prevent any funds in the bill from being used for the Housing Trust Fund. As pointed out by T-HUD Subcommittee Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-AZ) during floor debate, the bill does not contain any funding for the Housing Trust Fund.
The House accepted an amendment offered by House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) to prohibit funds from being used to relocate any asset management positions within HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing. Waters said her amendment would effectively stop HUD from closing any of the offices where asset management staff is currently located. Waters is opposed to HUD’s Multifamily Housing transformation plan.
The House adopted Representative Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) amendment that would bar the use of HUD funding from being used to pay back any loan made, guaranteed, or insured by HUD. The House adopted by a vote of 219 to 207 an amendment offered by Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to prevent any funds in the bill from being used by HUD to implement, enforce, or administer the proposed affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) rule.
A few housing-related amendments were rejected on a point of order because they increased overall spending in the bill or would add authorizing provisions to it. Representative Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) amendment to increase funding for vouchers by $988 million, to $20.3 billion, was defeated on a point of order because the amendment did not include an offset.
A point of order was raised against Representative Jim Himes’ (D-CT) amendment to require the HUD Secretary to implement a demonstration program for multifamily housing energy and water conservation. The amendment is similar to a provision included in the Senate’s FY 2015 T-HUD appropriations bill, S. 2438. The point of order was raised because the amendment is an authorizing provision.
The House also rejected a number of housing-related amendments. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) offered an amendment to cut $100 million from the HOME program, reducing it to $600 million, and transfer the funds to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. With both T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham (R-IA) and Ranking Member Pastor opposing the amendment, it was defeated by a vote of 114 to 311.
An amendment offered by Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) to reduce CDBG funding by $200 million, to $2.8 billion, fell by voice vote and his amendment to reduce CDBG funding by $20 million, to $2.98 billion, was rejected by a vote of 134 to 288.
The House rejected by a vote of 127 to 279 an amendment offered by Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) to reduce funding for the voucher and project-based Section 8 accounts by 10 percent, or approximately $2.9 billion. An amendment offered by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to cut all of the accounts in the bill by 1 percent was rejected by a vote of 159 to 260.
Amendments to transfer $29 million from HUD’s IT account to the Housing for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program and to reduce funding for public housing by $25 million were also rejected.
The White House issued on June 9 a Statement of Administration Policy with strong opposition to the House T-HUD bill, stating it “fails to make needed investments in our nation’s infrastructure, provides insufficient support for critical housing programs for low-income Americans and the homeless, and includes objectionable language provisions.” The statement highlights the Administration’s concern with the bill’s funding levels for, among other programs, HOME, vouchers, housing counseling, and homeless assistance grants. The Administration also states its opposition to the bill’s provision prohibiting the use of funds to implement the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Homeowners Armed With Knowledge (HAWK) program initiative.
As reported in NCSHA’s May 22 blog post, the House-passed bill has a funding level of $52.03 billion, $1.2 billion more than the FY 2014 enacted funding level and $7.8 billion less than the President’s FY 2015 Budget request. However, the bill provides program funding that is effectively $1.8 billion less than the FY 2014 enacted level due to a decrease in receipts available from the FHA to offset spending in the bill. The bill provides $2.4 billion less than the Senate Appropriations Committee-reported FY 2015 T-HUD bill, with approximately $1 billion less for HUD programs.
The bill would provide $700 million for the HOME program, a $300 million, or 30 percent, cut from the FY 2014 funding level of $1 billion and $250 million less than the Senate bill and the President’s FY 2015 Budget request. Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill includes the President’s proposal to set-aside up to $10 million within the HOME account for the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP). House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) noted during floor debate that $700 million would be the lowest funding level in the HOME program’s history.
The bill would provide $9.7 billion for project-based Section 8, $171 million, or 2 percent, less than the FY 2014 level and equal to the Senate bill and the President’s Budget request. Of the $9.7 billion, $210 million would be for contract administration, $55 million, or 21 percent, less than the FY 2014 level and equal to the Senate bill and the President’s Budget request.
The bill would provide $19.4 billion for the voucher program, $180 million, or 2 percent, more than the FY 2014 level, $205 million less than the Senate bill,and $688 million less than the President’s Budget request. Of that amount, $17.7 billion would be provided for voucher renewals, $327 million, or 2 percent, more than provided in FY 2014, $26 million less than the Senate bill, and $314 million less than requested in the President’s Budget. The bill includes $1.35 billion for administrative fees, $150 million, or 10 percent, less than provided in FY 2014, $205 million less than the Senate bill, and $355 million less than requested in the President’s Budget.
The bill would provide $2.1 billion for homeless assistance grants programs, equal to the FY 2014 level, $40 million less than the Senate bill, and $301 million less than requested in the President’s Budget. The bill would require that at least $200 million of the funds be used for the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program.
The bill would fund CDBG at $3 billion, $30 million, or 1 percent, less than its FY 2014 level, $20 million less than the Senate bill, and $200 million more than the President’s Budget request.
The bill would also provide $420 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program and $135 million for the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. The bill would provide within the voucher account $75 million for 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers. This is equal to the funding levels included in the Senate bill.
The bill would fund HUD Housing Counseling at $47 million, $2 million less than the Senate bill, and cut funding for the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program to $50 million, equal to the Senate bill level.
The bill would provide $4.4 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, $75 million less than the Senate bill, and would cut the Public Housing Capital Fund to $1.8 billion, $125 million less than the Senate bill.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2015 T-HUD bill on June 5. The Senate is expected to begin considering FY 2015 appropriations bills the week of June 16. It has not announced which bills it will consider first. See NCSHA’s funding chart for additional information on HUD and USDA housing program funding levels.