Thanks to your hard work, Congress approved a spending package last weekend that will provide responsible funding levels for housing and community development programs in the remainder of FY 2015. President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday evening and the Senate has adjourned concluding the work of the 113th Congress. The Senate also approved the House-approved one-year extension of the tax extenders bill.
To recap, late Saturday night, the Senate voted 56-40 to approve a “cromnibus” spending package that will provide funding for 11 of the 12 appropriations bills for the rest of the fiscal year- including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill. The cromnibus funds T-HUD at $53.8 billion, which is $2.9 billion above FY 2014 funding levels and is $3.8 billion above the House-approved level.
NAHRO members made contact with Congressional offices over 400 times through email, phone and social media in November and December to push their legislators to approve a spending bill that included T-HUD at Senate funding levels. This effort was hugely successful and helped the passage of a bill that includes a number of NAHRO’s requests.
Your efforts were absolutely critical- the bill nearly didn’t pass. The House almost rejected the cromnibus, passing it through a procedural hurdle by only a single vote. Considerable efforts against the bill were mounted from both the left and right over policy provisions included in the bill and other provisions that were excluded. Despite these obstacles, the merits of providing a responsible funding level for government programs through the end of the fiscal year won out. Your dedication to ensuring that housing and community development programs have a voice was essential to secure adequate funding and necessary programmatic changes in the T-HUD portion of the bill.
Specifically, the cromnibus includes several NAHRO priorities like an increase to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program cap to 185,000 units, a fix to the flat rent provision, and an increase to the cap on fungibility between the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds. This was all possible because of the efforts made by NAHRO members to get these included in the bill.
NAHRO would like to thank everyone who contacted his/her members of Congress about the T-HUD bill and the cromnibus. Our work for FY 2015 may be completed, but the efforts for FY 2016 will begin shortly after Congress takes office in January.