House Passes Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill

After three days of debate, the House recently passed the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill (H.R. 2577) with a final recorded vote of 216-210. The bill adheres to strict spending caps imposed by sequestration. However, the Office of Management and Budget has warned that President Obama will veto the bill because of the low funding level.

In total, the bill reflects $55.3 billion in discretionary spending. That’s $1.5 billion above the enacted fiscal year levels in 2015, but $9.7 billion below the president’s budget request. The House bill provides about $42 billion of net appropriated funding for HUD, which is about $1 billion more than the amount appropriated for fiscal year 2015, but $3 billion less than the fiscal year 2016 HUD budget requested.

The Senate Appropriations THUD Subcommittee is expected to take up its own appropriations bill soon. And Senate Democrats have pledged to filibuster any fiscal year 2016 bill that adheres to the Republican budget.

Before the bill passed, House members debated several housing-related amendments. An amendment from Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to block implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule and HUD’s work to develop a tool related to the rule was passed. Several amendments from Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) related to cutting funding for rental assistance programs were rejected, such as an amendment to cut project-based rental assistance by $300 million. The House rejected several other funding cut amendments, including an amendment from Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that applied an additional 1 percent spending cut to all programs.