Well… we still have no omnibus, but we now have a five-day continuing resolution (CR) that will expire on this upcoming Wednesday, December 16. The Senate approved the CR by a quick voice vote yesterday and the House did the same earlier today. So once again, the countdown is on.
Negotiations are continuing this weekend and we’re seeing reports that they’ve slowed down over policy riders. Again, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) hopes to file the omnibus package on Monday.
Assuming that timeline is accurate, it will still be extremely difficult for Congress to approve an omnibus by Wednesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he intends to adhere to the House’s rule of waiting three days to hold a vote on a bill after its introduction, so the earliest the House would consider the omnibus would be Wednesday. If Congress sticks to the tradition of the House voting first on spending bills, that leaves very little time for the Senate to approve it before the expiration of the current CR. However, we’re hearing rumors that members of Congress are being warned that work may continue until as late as December 22nd, so there may be a recognition that a Wednesday deadline is unrealistic.
We do also anticipate tax extenders in some form will be attached to the omnibus. Negotiations last weekend hit a roadblock over a disagreement on a permanent authorization of certain tax provisions. Our understanding is that the 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is among the provisions being considered for a permanent extension, but once again the 4 percent has been omitted.
Seeing the controversy over permanent authorizations, Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on Monday introduced two-year tax extenders bill that would apply retroactively to 2015 and going forward in 2016. The two year bill also includes the 9 percent, but does not include the 4 percent LIHTC.
We’ll let you know as soon as the omnibus is filed. NAHRO is planning to send out a quick overview of the bill with the highlights as soon as it’s released, then we will follow-up with in-depth analysis of the bill.
In the meantime, there are two budget-focused letters (one on overall spending and another on Moving to Work) and one on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) in the Advocacy Action Center that you can send while the negotiations are still on-going. These letters are easily editable and can be copy and pasted if you prefer to use the language to send in an email to staff you have an on-going relationship with.
Beyond budget and appropriations, the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday approved 44-10 the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HR 3700). The legislation approved was a substitute amendment to the bill that contained a handful of changes to the original bill. It was approved after debate between full Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) and other members of the committee over the impact of the changes to medical deductions on elderly and disabled households and the childcare deduction on working mothers.
The legislation now heads to the House floor. We aren’t sure what the timing of a floor vote will be, though we do not anticipate it happening before the House recesses for the holidays.
We’re hopeful that we’ll have omnibus news for you on Monday. Have a great weekend!