Highlights of the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act
On Jan. 16, the Senate passed by a vote of 72 to 26 the fiscal year (FY) 2014 omnibus spending bill, H.R. 3547. The House approved the same bill on Jan. 15 with a vote of 359 to 67, with an overwhelming majority vote from both parties. The omnibus, which includes all 12 appropriations bills, sets the final appropriations levels and funds all federally funded agencies, including HUD, through the end of FY 2014, which occurs on Sept. 30, 2014.
The Appropriations Act funds the government at $1.012 trillion. This amount is the spending limit agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that was negotiated by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA).
Here are a few highlights from the 1,582-page act:
- The act includes $32.8 billion for HUD.
- The act includes $3.1 billion for the Community Development Fund, including $3 billion for the CDBG program.
- The act funds HOME at $1 billion.
- Project-based Section 8 is funded at $9.9 billion. The funding level includes $265 million for performance-based contract administrators.
- The omnibus includes $19.2 billion for the voucher program. This amount includes $17.4 billion for voucher renewals and $1.5 billion for administrative fees. It also includes $75 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers. The bill includes as a separate account $75 million for family self-sufficiency (FSS) coordinators.
- The omnibus includes language allowing for biennial, instead of annual, inspections of units occupied by tenants receiving voucher assistance. It allows inspections conducted for other housing programs, such as HOME or the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, to qualify as alternative inspection methods.
- The act also defines extremely low-income (ELI) families to mean very low-income families whose incomes do not exceed the higher of the federal poverty line or 30 percent of area median income (AMI).
- The act modifies utility allowances to limit the allowance amount for tenant-paid utilities to no more than the appropriate utility allowance for the family unit size as determined by the PHA, regardless of the size of the actual unit leased by the family. It requires a PHA to approve a higher utility allowance request for a family that includes an individual with disabilities, if needed as a reasonable accommodation.
- The omnibus provides $2.1 billion for homeless assistance grants.
- The act provides $384 million for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program.
- The act provides $126 million for the Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.
- The omnibus includes $1.9 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund and $4.4 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund. It requires PHAs to set by June 1, 2014, flat rents at levels no lower than 80 percent of the fair market rental rate. If the new rental amount for a unit would increase a family’s rental payment by more than 35 percent, the new amount will be phased in. The bill also allows for consortiums of PHAs.
- The omnibus funds Choice Neighborhoods at $90 million, of which at least $55 million must be awarded to PHAs.
- The omnibus extends Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) authority for converting Rent Supplement (Rent Supp), Rental Assistance Payment (RAP), and Mod Rehab units through December 2014. Authority for converting public housing units does not expire until Sept. 30, 2015. The bill does not increase the 60,000 public housing unit cap.