Congress Approves $1.3 Trillion Spending Package

Filed in Capitol Hill by on March 22, 2018 1 Comment

This post was updated March 23 to reflect Senate passage.

Congress has approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill that will fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year, which expires Sept. 30.

The House passed the bill on March 22 and the Senate approved the legislation early the next morning.

The budget contains Republican and Democratic priorities: It boosts defense spending – which President Trump and Republicans have been calling for – by $78 billion over 2017 levels. Democrats won a $52 billion increase for domestic programs.

The legislation also extends the National Flood Insurance Program to July 31, 2018.

On a related note, last fall the House approved the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, NAHB-supported legislation that would reauthorize the NFIP for five years.

With the flood program set to expire on July 31, this will provide a greater urgency for the Senate Banking Committee to move forward on a long-term reauthorization of the program to ensure accidental lapses between short-term reauthorizations like we have seen in the past do not occur.

Overall, HUD received $42.7 billion in funding for the current fiscal year, an increase of $3.9 billion from fiscal 2017. The increase was due primarily to the budget deal struck at the beginning of the year. Here are funding levels for key HUD and USDA programs:

  • The HOME program received $1.362 billion for the current fiscal year, a $412 million increase from last year. Moreover, the 24-month commitment requirement for HOME funds has been extended a second time. This will help participating jurisdictions that have struggled to meet the deadline from losing appropriated funds.
  • The Community Development Block Grant program received a 10% increase to $3.3 billion from $3 billion last year.
  • The Project-based Section 8 program will be funded at $11.5 billion in fiscal 2018, a $680 million increase from last year’s $10.82 billion level.
  • The Section 502 Direct Loan program will be funded at $1.1 billion in fiscal 2018, up $100 million from the fiscal 2017 level.
  • The Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan program will be funded at $24 billion, the same level as last year.
  • The Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance program received funding of $1.345 billion in fiscal 2018, a slight decrease from the $1.41 billion in fiscal 2017.

Also of interest to the housing community, the budget package will:

  • Marginally improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. NAHB expressed its disappointment that lawmakers failed to do more and we continue to push for congressional passage of the Affordable Housing Improvements Act, which enjoys bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress.
  • Help increase the timber production from federal lands. The legislation contains several forestry reform measures backed by NAHB, including many that were taken from Rep. Bruce Westerman’s (R-Ark.) legislation that would remove regulatory hurdles to forest management projects and shield those projects from frivolous lawsuits.
  • Provide an additional $50 million for apprenticeship programs and increase support for career and technical education programs by $75 million.

For more information, contact Jessica Hall  Hall at 800-368-5242 x8253.

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  1. K Winkler says:

    Amazing how the debt and deficits only matter when Dems are in charge.

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