House Appropriations Committee Marks-up FY16 THUD Bill

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The House Appropriations Committee passed the FY16 Transportation, Housing (THUD) bill on May 13, 2015. The bill was funded at $6.8 billion less than the President’s request in order to comply with the budget caps set by sequestration. 

The Section 202 account faced a drastic cut with the bill allocating just $414 million for the program and underfunding the amount needed for PRAC renewals. Unfortunately, in order meet necessary funding levels the committee rescinded the demonstration funding from FY14, something LeadingAge, the Center for Aging Research, and many members have dedicated time to help shape in the hope of developing a more sustainable model for housing and services communities. The Committee also moved the Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contract (SPRAC) renewals into the 202 account, rather than keeping them in the Project-Based Section 8 account where the President’s budget had moved them.

LeadingAge alerted members almost two weeks ago that the funding was cut and that the demonstration funds were rescinded to cover PRAC renewals. Unfortunately there was some initial confusion about the status of the demonstration project, but the Committee’s report made it clear in no uncertain terms that the Section 202 demonstration project funding of $20 million was rescinded, along with $20 million in capital advance funds, and $7 million in funds that will expire at the end of the FY15 to meet the PRAC renewal obligations.

The report states “HUD shall use a total of $47,000,000 in uncommitted funds from prior year appropriations for the program. This includes $20,000,000 from an elderly demonstration program, $20,000,000 available from supportive housing capital advance program funds, and $7,000,000 in funds that will expire at the end of fiscal year 2015. The total appropriation plus uncommitted balances provide a total program level of $461,000,000, which will fully fund contract renewals and amendments in fiscal year 2016 for the elderly program. The Committee rejects the budget proposal to fund $16,000,000 of the section 202 program under the project-based rental assistance account and instead funds them under this heading.”  

THUD Subcommittee Ranking Member, David Price (NC, 4th) noted the insufficient funding in the bill and criticized the self-inflicted austerity imposed by the unrealistic budget caps set under sequestration. Price offered an amendment to boost funding for transportation and housing programs including Section 202, and exceeding the caps but it failed on a party line vote.

Full Committee Ranking Member, Nita Lowey (NY, 17th) noted the time wasted working on bills that underfunded critical programs. Lowey reminded members that the sequestration levels made it impossible to pass bills on the House floor and urged leaders to come together to work on an alternative to sequestration, as with the Murray-Ryan agreement 2 years ago to raise funding levels, so that they could pass real bills. Representative Barbara Lee, (CA, 13th) also cited the value of affordable housing programs such as Section 202 and 811. Lee stated that the cuts pushed more and more Americans into poverty and homelessness.

The bill will move next to the House floor.  According to Hill staff they expect to vote on it in mid-June. While the Senate has not released its THUD bill the allocation is much lower and we expect the key affordable housing accounts to face additional cut.

The House also moved to rescind fund for the housing Trust Fund in order to fund the HOME account. Read more here.

Contact Congress on the THUD bill now.

 


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