The appropriations committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate last week put forward their versions of the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bills. The House version features nearly $2 billion less funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) than its Senate counterpart, which could set the stage for a drawn-out reconciliation process.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is tracking the developments related to the T-HUD bills, telling its members that the gulf between both versions as they relate to HUD spending could lead to issues, on top of the re-emerging concern that a debate between the legislative branch and the White House could lead to a government shutdown later this year.
“The House is slated to advance individual spending bills at funding levels well below the negotiated limits of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, causing a nearly $2 billion delta between the House and Senate T-HUD bills,” MBA said in a member update.
A comparative analysis of the House and Senate versions of the bill published by the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) concluded that the Senate bill is broadly more generous in its funding allocations for HUD programs. The House version, meanwhile, calls for “deep cuts” in certain housing programs, PHADA said. In total, the House version calls for $90.243 billion in T-HUD spending, while the Senate version calls for $98.931 billion.
In its update to members, MBA described the nature of its work related to T-HUD appropriations and its current priorities.
“MBA has once again worked closely with House and Senate appropriators to both secure funding for targeted federal housing investments and enhance oversight of federal agencies’ actions through committee report language,” the association said. “MBA worked with key appropriators to help secure commentary calling for accountability from HUD regarding the operations of FHA’s multifamily lending program in the committee report. Both bills fund the administrative costs of Ginnie Mae and FHA, and the Senate bill includes $100 million in grants to support inclusive zoning.”
The debate regarding the FY 2024 budget is expected to begin in earnest once the House and Senate return from their August recess. The markups of the appropriations bills are the first step toward eventual full-year funding levels, but general disagreements about government spending pervade the debate which could raise the specter of another war of words that could bring about a government shutdown.
“House floor action on all 12 individual appropriations bills – including its version of a T-HUD bill – remains uncertain,” MBA said in its update. “With Congress unlikely to reach [an] agreement on government funding before September 30, 2023, legislators will almost certainly need to pass a ‘stop-gap’ Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating beyond October 1, 2023.”
Such CRs routinely push the budget debate to the very end of the year, but there is the possibility of a government shutdown in October, according to a recent economic policy analysis by the Washington Post.
“The debt ceiling deal, reached in May by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), specified that most of the federal government should be funded at essentially flat levels for the next two years,” the Post article said. “But some House Republicans say that bipartisan agreement only means the government won’t spend more than the caps — and that spending less is just fine. Many GOP leaders are pushing to limit funding for the 2024 fiscal year to what the budget was in 2022, which would mean a $115 billion cut that Democrats reject.”