Friday Night Wrap-Up: December 4, 2015

Triennial recertification of tenants on fixed incomes will officially become law today! The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (HR 22) was approved by Congress yesterday and the President is expected to sign it today.

Along with a couple other housing provisions, the bill permits families with 90 percent of their income coming from a fixed-source to undergo triennial re-certifications, as opposed to annually. NAHRO has long advocated for efforts to allow PHAs to reduce the frequency of reexaminations for fixed-income families. Reducing the number of administratively intensive income re-certifications PHAs are required to perform will free up time and resources that can be directed towards other more meaningful tasks. Both the House and the Senate supported this approach in prior bills.

Additionally, the Financial Services Committee announced this afternoon that on Tuesday, December 8 the committee will mark-up the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HR3700). The mark-up announcement contained a revised version of the bill that we are in the process of reviewing now. NAHRO staff will be attending the hearing in person and you can watch live on the committee’s web site (warning: the committee is marking up several bills in addition to HR 3700). We will provide a detailed analysis of any changes to the bill following the mark-up.

On a somewhat related note, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) introduced the Public Housing Accountability Act (HR 4133) on Monday that would require housing authorities to perform yearly income reviews on tenants and evict over-income families within 30 days. We’ve been in communication with committee staff about the bill and have heard no indications that it is moving anytime soon, but we’re keeping an eye on it regardless.

Appropriators appear to have made little progress on the omnibus since Wednesday, a process Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) described to colleagues as a “crap sandwich.” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) said the bill amounted to little more than a “tea party wish list.” Negotiations are expected to continue over the weekend.  Despite the impasse, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) insists that omnibus language will be released and debate on the bill will begin early next week. We’ll send a quick overview of housing and community development funding levels and any major policy provisions immediately after the bill text is available, followed by in-depth analysis later in the week from the policy team.

If Chairman Rogers sticks to his timeline, Congress could still meet its December 11 deadline, provided there are no major hurdles in approving the omnibus. However, lawmakers appear ready to approve another continuing resolution (likely one week) to avoid a shutdown when the current CR expires next week.

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