Congress Debates Funding to Avoid Government Shutdown

The new fiscal year for the U.S. government begins on Oct. 1, and Congress has so far failed to enact any of the 12 federal spending bills for FY 2017, including those that fund affordable housing and community development.

A CR carries forward funding levels from the previous year but it’s unclear as to how far that CR funding would last into the next fiscal year. The Republican House and Senate leadership, along with Democrats and congressional appropriators, have indicated they would prefer a short-term CR to avoid saddling the next administration with major funding decisions right after a new president takes office. They are also hesitant to fund federal agencies and programs based on last year’s levels for an extended period. However, conservative members of the Republican caucus prefer a longer term CR, arguing that lame-duck negotiations lead to higher spending levels.

For FY 2017, HUD needs approximately $1 billion more than FY 2016 spending levels to maintain current program levels and renew existing housing assistance contracts. Both the House and Senate proposed bills for HUD that would increase resources for affordable housing programs—$1.2 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively—to help provide affordable, stable housing for more seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and people experiencing homelessness.