CARH’s Broadcast Email—Legislative Alert
1) Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY 2022 Signed into Law by President Biden
On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the $1.5 trillion 1,068-page omnibus appropriations bill entitled, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 (P.L. 117-103), that Congress passed late last week. Of this $1.5 trillion, $730 billion would be for non-defense discretionary spending, a 6.7% increase from FY 2021, and $782 billion would be for defense spending, a 5.6% increase from FY 2021. The legislation fully funds President Biden’s signature infrastructure law that was passed late last year, allowing many new programs authorized to now have funding. The spending package also includes $13.6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine.
The fiscal year began on October 1, 2021, and since the House and Senate had not been able to agree on funding levels for several programs, the government had been running on a series of Continuing Resolutions (CR), meaning that funding for programs were at FY 2021 levels for the last five months. The Consolidated Appropriations Act also includes over 4,000 earmarks, which means monies have been allocated for specific purposes in various members of Congress districts and states. Earmarks have not been part of the appropriations process for over a decade.
Many of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) programs and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (RD) housing programs would see a slight increase in funding from FY 2021 to FY 2022. Click here for RD and click here for HUD charts that provide details on funding levels for specific programs at both agencies. We would like to highlight some of these funding levels:
- United States Department of Agriculture Rural DevelopmentRD’s Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) Program will be funded at $1.450 billion. While on the surface this appears to be an increase in funding over the FY 2021 level, funding is flat because $40 million of the $1.450 billion is to remain available through FY 2023 in order that RD, in the case of a CR, can fund RA contracts that renew in the beginning months of FY 2023 (October-December). As in the last three appropriations bills, language has again been included that would allow for RA contracts to be 20 years, subject to annual appropriations. CARH has been very supportive of this language, but thus far RD has not implemented this provision. RA contracts tend to be less well known to non-Section 538 lenders and to Housing Credit equity providers and the one-year term is often an issue. RD’s consistent funding has been a strong due diligence point for lenders and investors. However, it isn’t lost on developers that these financing entities price in the costs of risk and due diligence, increasing costs of development, much of which could be solved with the 20-year subsidy contract like HUD uses.Section 542 Rural Housing Vouchers would be funded at $45 million and, as in FY 2021, has its own budget line-item. Prior to FY 2021, vouchers were funded under the Multifamily Housing Preservation (MPR) program. The MPR program would be funded at $34 million, a slight increase from $28 million in FY 2021. Budget authority for the Section 538 Guarantee Loan program would be $250 million, a $20 million increase from FY 2021. Section 515 funding would be $50 million, an increase of $10 million.
- Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentHUD’s Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) will be funded at $13.94 billion, largely in line with the Senate proposal and a half billion more than FY 2021. The tenant-based vouchers are funded at $27.37 billion, again near the Senate proposal and about $1.5 billion more than FY 2021. The HOME program will receive $1.5 billion, a $150 million increase over FY 2021.
2) FY 2023 Budget and Status of Build Back Better
Now that the FY 2022 budget has been finalized, the Administration will soon submit their FY 2023 budget. The various Appropriations Subcommittees in both the House and Senate will begin to hold hearings soon after the budget has been formally submitted to Congress. Efforts will be made to pass individual appropriations bills, but it is likely that given the Congressional calendar for the remainder of the year, it will be necessary to pass a CR for FY 2023 that will fund the government past the Congressional elections in November.
CARH continues to advocate for passage of the historic levels of funding for affordable housing that is envisioned in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act (H.R. 5376) currently in the Senate. As members know from many broadcast emails on the subject (see the latest November 23, 2021, Broadcast Email), RD would receive $1.8 billion for multifamily programs including new construction and preservation of the existing portfolio; $100 million for RA and $100 million for technology improvements within the agency. Passage and funding of the programs contained in the bill would be possible as a budget procedure allowed through reconciliation. We continue to also advocate for inclusion of provisions which would expand and enhance the housing credit and bond programs. It remains uncertain at this point if the Senate will consider the BBB in its current form due to its impact on the budget. Efforts continue to work with Senators who have objected to provisions to decrease the scope of the bill, which is why CARH continues to discuss the importance of including the affordable housing provisions, particularly the rural sections.
CARH urges our members to ask their Senators to support the housing provisions in the BBB. Click here to for contact information for your Senators.
Don’t forget to keep the national CARH office apprised of your contacts, their response, and if follow-up is needed from the national CARH staff with specific members of Congress and or their staffs.
Please contact the CARH national office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-837-9001 should you have questions or concerns. For other news and information affecting the affordable rural housing industry, please visit the Newsroom on CARH’s website, www.carh.org.