Continuing Resolution for FY 2017 Signed by President—Government Programs Funded through December 9, 2016

CARH’s BROADCAST EMAIL – Legislative Update

October 4, 2016

On September 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R.5325 – Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act (Public Law number has yet to be assigned). This legislation, referred to as the short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, will keep the government agencies and programs funded through December 9. The measure also includes $1.1 billion to respond to the Zika virus outbreak, $500 million for flood relief in Louisiana and other states, and full year FY 2017 appropriations for military construction and veterans’ programs. The CR also includes an across the board reduction in “rate for operations” for agencies of 0.496 percent.

The CR was cleared by the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday, September 28th by votes of 342-85 in the House and 72-26 in the Senate. The CR runs through December 9, thus requiring lawmakers to return to Washington for a lame duck session after the November elections to pass full year appropriations for 11 of 12 of the normal appropriations bills.

As CARH members know, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reported their versions of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 5054 and S. 2956) earlier in the year. However, neither the full House nor Senate took up the respective bills. Similar measures for funding of programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (H.R. 5394 and S.2844) met similar fates.

Consequently, the CR for FY 2017 keeps funding and allocation of monies for the housing programs administered by Rural Development (RD) and HUD at the same level as in FY 2016.  However, the CR does allow for Apportionment Authority for RD’s Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) program. The language “Allows the Department of Agriculture funding flexibility to pay ongoing debt service for multi-family direct loan program rental assistance contracts under sections 514 and 515 of the Housing Act of 1949.”  By including this language, RD should receive from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a larger portion of the RA funds that were provided last year at this time, thus meeting all contract renewals that are required between October 1 and December 9, 2016. Given all of the issues surrounding the RA program last fiscal year, it is important for borrowers and residents that this language was included. Please let CARH’s national office know if there are any issues during the time of the CR regarding timely RA payments.

At this point, it is unclear as to how long Congress will be in session when they return after the November elections. While most lame-duck sessions do not result in major legislation that alters existing law, it is possible that the session in December could be different. Therefore, it is important that CARH members continue their grassroots contacts with their Members of Congress and staff.

CARH members are encouraged to use the prepared issue briefs outlining CARH’s positions on both funding, housing policy and tax issues, particularly legislation which would enhance the housing credit and housing bond programs. The two relevant issue briefs are: Housing Credit and Housing Bond Programs and Rural Housing and Role of Affordable Rental Housing in Rural America. These issue briefs were used in recent Congressional meetings by CARH’s board of directors on September 20, their most recent board meeting.  In addition, use this time that members of Congress are in their districts and states and invite them and their staffs to your properties so that they can see first-hand the work you do for rural affordable housing.

Please contact the CARH national office at or 703-837-9001 should you have questions.

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