On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the House passed a month-long extension of the current short-term funding bill by a vote of 231-192. This measure represents the second continuing resolution of the 2020 fiscal year. This will would allow lawmakers to continue funding the government for 30 days while negotiating differences between the House and Senate FY20 spending bills. Lawmakers seem close to agreement on final spending levels, but key differences remain, particularly around funding for the Administration’s proposed border wall.
This measure has now moved to the Senate as members of Congress look to wrap up the week’s business before both the current federal funding deadline this Friday, November 21 and the Thanksgiving recess next week. This measure would continue FY 19 enacted funding levels for housing and community development programs.
The bill, however, has hit a procedural snag as the underlying bill used as a means to pass the short term funding bill is a funding bill Senate Republicans would like to avoid so as to keep it open to negotiations later in the year. In short, the House is likely to see the bill returned so that they use a different underlying bill to send back to the Senate. That becomes procedurally quite close to the Friday deadline for both the House to vote again and the Senate to vote for final passage.
What happened in the Senate spending bill?
We have outlined on this blog the House and Senate bill proposals for FY 20 spending. In our August newsletter, we urged members to call and urge our Senators to fund community development programs as the highest possible level under the agreed upon spending caps and to restore funding that was cut from HUD’s housing counseling budget. The final bill passed on October 31, by a vote of 84-9, without a change to the counseling program funding level, so we urge continued advocacy and calls to your House Representative and both Senators as negotiations continue.
Some amendment language was passed, however, that Prosperity Indiana believes strengthened the underlying bill, including a provision to allow the USDA to extend rental assistance agreements for projects financed by existing Section 514 or 515 loans for up to 20 years to help assisted residents remain stably housed for longer periods
Stay tuned to our social media and this blog for timely budget updates!