Senate Cuts HOME by 93%, House Cuts NHTF to Keep HOME level, President Threatens to Veto
- Senate: The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill proposing to fund HOME at $66 million in 2016; just seven percent of the $900 million HOME funding level in 2015. Many local jurisdictions would receive as little as $10,000 under the bill. Amendments to the bill to restore funding by Senator Jack Reed failed.
- House: The House passed a bill proposing to fund HOME at $767 million (a $133 million cut) and roll over the entire National Housing Trust Fund budget (approximately $133 million) to the program in order to effectively keep HOME funding flat for FY2016.
- Executive: The president released a Statement of Administrative Policy (SAP) on June 1st threatening to veto the House bill and any other spending legislation that adheres to the current budget framework mandated by sequester and funds HOME at levels lower than the Administration’s funding request ($1.06 billion).
Both conversations about cutting the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) to fund HOME (the House’s current position) and cutting HOME completely to fund other HUD programs (The Senate’s current position) are relatively peripheral to the greater conversation about whether and/or how to suspend Sequester and lift the Budget caps. In fact, there is a strong case to be made that neither budgets are serious documents made in good faith, rather, the House and the Senate are simply elbowing for position and then stalling in anticipation of a real conversation about the budget cuts. The crux of the issue is that under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Sequester), budget caps for 2016 call for across the board cuts to all discretionary federal programs – including HUD. The GOP is fighting to keep these caps enforced (the programs they care most about, while also affected by the sequester, have expanded slush funds such as the Oversees Contingency Fund to permanently offset defense spending caps) – while the President and most House and Senate Democrats are fighting to suspend implementation of sequester budget caps because it cuts many programs (like HOME) haphazardly and without recourse (click here for a recent letter from the Federal Office of Management & Budget (OMB) detailing the extent of the proposed cuts).
EFFECT ON PRACTITIONERS:
Most policy experts agree that best way for all of us to ensure that there is adequate funding for HOME and other programs next year in FY-2016 is to ask our Senators and Representatives to support the President’s position on suspending the budget caps and argue against any further cuts to HOME or the NHTF. In the President’s words, “Sequestration was never intended to take effect…it was supposed to threaten such drastic cuts to both defense and non-defense funding that policymakers would be motivated to […] reduce the deficit through smart, balanced reforms.” To contact your Senators and Representative and encourage them to lift sequestration caps and fund HOME at $1.06 billion, please click here.