The House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Committee unanimously approved its FY 2015 spending bill on May 7. Although the bill received an overall $1.2 billion increase compared to current levels, a $1.8 billion decrease in revenue from the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) receipts resulted in an overall cut to the T-HUD spending bill – even with the increase in spending levels. This had a dramatic impact on housing and community development (HCD) programs funded by the bill.
During the mark-up of the bill, full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) admitted that the funding allocation didn’t give the THUD Subcommittee “a lot to work with.” Full Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) commented that she hopes that the Senate will be able to restore programs that were underfunded in the House bill.
Despite the funding challenges, the bill purports to maintain housing assistance for all families currently being served and maintains current funding levels for the Community Development Block Grant program. Unfortunately, the bill cuts the Public Housing Capital Fund to $1.775 billion, which is lower than the sequestration level, and slashes Administrative Fees to $1.35 billion, which would result in the lowest proration rate in the program’s history and which is also lower than the sequestration level. It also proposes the lowest-ever funding level for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $700 million. Choice Neighborhoods was also cut dramatically to $25 million, which is less funding than single implementation grants in prior years. NAHRO will provide additional analysis of the bill soon.
The cuts could have been worse. FHA receipts are down nearly $3 billion from FY 2014, but appropriators did not burden T-HUD with the full impact of this decrease in revenue. NAHRO joined several national organizations to push appropriators to provide the highest possible funding levels for THUD despite the decline in FHA revenues. This tactic worked, but the fight isn’t over – the Senate still has not released their T-HUD funding allocations. Urge your Senators to support the highest possible funding for T-HUD today. The Senate is expected to begin its appropriations work on May 22, when spending allocations reportedly will be announced.
The full Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the THUD bill during the week of May 19. NAHRO will reach out to the full Appropriations Committee and ask them to consider five significant changes to the bill – contact your Representative today to urge them to support these changes.