Post-Election Legislative Landscape

The Senate returned this week and hit the ground running with Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations. Funding for the federal government runs out on December 11 and both Republicans and Democrats have stated their desire for full FY 2021 appropriation, as opposed to another short-term or long-term continuing resolution. The Senate Appropriations Committee released all 12 of their funding bills, which contain modest increases for HUD and USDA housing programs.

HUD & RD Housing Programs (In millions) FY-2020 Enacted FY-2021 WH FY21 House FY 21 Senate Difference Between House & Senate
Tenant Based Rental Assistance              23,900    23,400    25,739    25,516        223
Public Housing Capital Fund                2,890            –     3,180     2,923        257
Public Housing Operating Fund                4,500        550     4,649     4,517        132
Choice Neighborhoods Initiative                   175            –        250        100        150
Hsg. Opp. for Persons with AIDS                   410        330        430        410          20
Community Development Fund                3,400            –     3,525     3,455          70
HOME Investment Partnerships                1,350            –     1,700     1,375        325
Homeless Assistance Grants                2,762     2,758     3,415     2,951        464
Rental Assistance Demonstration                       –        100            –            –            –
Project-Based Rental Assistance              12,519    12,591    13,451    13,403          48
Hsg. for the Elderly (202)                   793        853        893        853          40
Hsg. for Persons w/Disabilities (811)                   202        252        227        237         (10)
Section 515 Rental Housing Direct Loans                    40            40          40            –
Section 521 Rental Assistance                1,375     1,450     1,450     1,410          40

Source: the National Low Income Housing Coalition

Under regular order, the Senate’s bills will need to be passed by the appropriations subcommittees, the full appropriation committee and the full Senate and then be reconciled with the House’s already passed appropriations bills. But nothing about 2020 is regular; there will likely be a few large legislative vehicles that move the bills either as one or broken up into segments. There may be a very short continuing resolution (a week or two) to give congressional negotiators more time to cross the finish line.

A COVID-19 relief package and a tax bill are widely seen as the other must-dos during the lame-duck session. The tax bill would likely include extenders for expiring provision like the New Markets Tax Credit, for which authorization ends this year. Talks have resumed for the mythical COVID-19 relief package, but a quote from Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) candidly assessed the playing field: “both sides are saying they want one, but both sides are saying they want the one they want. So, we’ll see.” And while the make-up of the Senate remains undecided, it seems likely that Democrats may be eager to clear the legislative deck for the next Congress and President-Elect Joe Biden.

All three legislative vehicles provide opportunities to attach LIHTC priorities. We’ll continue to monitor the latest developments and engage our members when action is needed. NH&RA is hosting a Post-Election Outlook Town Hall on December 3 to cover the legislative and regulatory outlook, as well as the transition process and likely candidates for cabinet posts. Register here.