Tag Archives: FY 2015

Help NAHRO Protect HUD Funding in FY 2015- Join Sign-On Letter

The FY 2015 budget process is beginning. Join NAHRO in the fight for increased HUD funding by signing your organization onto a stakeholders letter by March 12 to push for the highest possible funding levels for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill. Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to read the letter and sign-on today!

Each year after the President’s budget proposal is released, Congress begins their budget and appropriations process. This process starts with the House and the Senate each drafting their own budget resolution. Those two resolutions are then merged into a single bill – a concurrent budget resolution. The concurrent budget resolution sets the overall amount of money that will be spent in the federal budget in the upcoming fiscal year, known in Washington as a “302(a).” This overall spending level guides appropriators, who are responsible for setting spending levels for specific programs within the federal government.  This year, the 302(a) has already been set by the two-year budget deal approved by Congress in December 2013: the 302(a) for FY 2015 is $1.014 trillion, which is essentially level funding.

Once a 302(a) has been established, appropriators divide that funding between the 12 appropriations bills that make up the federal budget, known as a 302(b). The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development bill (THUD) is the bill responsible for setting spending levels for all HUD programs.  A low 302(b) level for THUD translates into cuts to critical HUD programs.   

In order to secure the highest possible level of funding for HUD programs, NAHRO has joined together with a large and diverse group of stakeholders who are impacted by the THUD bill. This group has drafted a sign-on letter that reminds appropriators of the importance of programs funded by THUD and urges them to appropriate the highest possible funding level for THUD in FY 2015. This is the third year such a letter has been drafted; last year, more than 2,400 organizations from every state signed the letter and Senate Appropriations THUD Subcommittee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) brought a copy of the letter with her to the Senate floor to argue for her bill. This year, we are hoping to get 3,000 signatures for this critical letter. Please sign your organization on to the letter today and distribute widely within your networks. Visit the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center to view the letter and sign your organization by March 12.


Budget Deal Close to Finish Line

In a refreshing moment of bipartisanship, the Congressional Budget Conference Committee unveiled their budget agreement last week, which was quickly approved by the House. The Senate is making progress toward a final vote on Wednesday. The deal sets spending levels for FY14 and FY15 and offers a partial replacement for sequestration during those years.

The agreement, brokered by committee Chairs Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), provides approximately $1.012 trillion in FY 2014 and $1.014 trillion in FY 2015. Those spending levels include a replacement for approximately 50% of required sequestration cuts in FY14 and 25% of sequestration cuts in FY15. This will translate into about $22.4 billion in additional funding for non-defense discretionary programs in FY 2014 and $9.07 billion for NDD programs in FY 2015. Though there is additional funding available for non-defense discretionary programs, there is no guarantee that any of that funding will be allocated to housing and community development programs.

In all, it is an $85 billion deal split evenly between defense and non-defense programs, offset primarily by an increase to airline ticket fees and larger contributions from federal employees to their pensions. This agreement marks a big compromise by both sides; Republicans pushing for reforms to entitlement programs were disappointed by the deal and Democrats hoping to generate additional revenue through tax reform and tax increases were also unsatisfied. Despite disappointments that the deal wasn’t more of a grand bargain, it does seem to be a palatable solution to both sides of the aisle. 

The House voted to approve the measure 332-94, sending the bill to the Senate for final passage before the holidays. The Senate voted 67-33 to end debate on the budget and move it toward a final vote, which is expected to take place tomorrow.

Though the deal didn’t raise spending levels quite as high as the $1.058 trillion level that the Senate proposed and NAHRO supported, $1.012 trillion comes much closer to that level than many in Washington anticipated. Achieving this increase in spending is a huge win for NAHRO. Additionally, Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray provided Congress with an incredible gift of a two year budget deal. This means that there is decent chance that regular order can return to the Appropriations process; since the House and Senate will be working off the same overall funding level for FY 2015, theoretically, their bills should be easier to pass and conference. As a result, because we won’t be lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, Congress might actually have the time to focus on other priorities beyond appropriations, such as tax reform or voucher reform.

The fight for FY 2014 and to protect housing and community development is not quite over, though. Despite the additional $22 billion in funding available this year, the House and Senate Appropriators now have to go back to the drawing board and re-work the spending allocations for each of the appropriations bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill.  Keep in mind, just because NDD as a whole will receive an additional $22 billion in funding for the remainder of the fiscal year, there is no assurance that HUD will receive a single penny of that funding. Those decisions have not been made yet. Contact your members of Congress to urge them to support funding for THUD and housing and community development programs today.