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It’s High Time for a Bipartisan, 3-Prong Budget Agreement

By Michael Bodaken, NHT President

This week, house leaders proceeded with individual spending bills that would fund domestic programs at $5 billion below the already low spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, or $8 billion less than FY 2017.

The House bill provides at least $1.5 billion less than what is needed to maintain program levels and cover inflationary costs to ensure that every household currently receiving housing assistance can remain in their homes. The legislation does not provide sufficient funding to cover costs for Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), which would lead to the loss of 140,000 housing vouchers. This is disastrous in a country where only 25 percent of residents eligible for rental assistance currently receive it, while others face years on waiting lists hoping for a voucher.

It has become abundantly clear that the federal government cannot begin to provide anything close to adequate funding for affordable housing assistance without a new budget deal that raises the current draconian spending caps.

As the House bill moves forward and the Senate takes up its own THUD spending bill, urge your Senators and Representatives to develop a bipartisan budget agreement that reflects 3 essential items: (1) eliminates the spending caps; (2) maintains parity between defense and non-defense spending, and (3) fully funds housing assistance for vouchers and public housing. A new budget deal is the only way we can begin to overcome millions of Americans’ overwhelming over-rent burdens.