After spending weeks in their home districts and states campaigning for the midterm elections, members of Congress will return to Capitol Hill today (November 14). Though the exact composition of the new Congress is still being determined, members of the current Congress will need to finalize a fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget and wrap up other priorities before the new Congress begins on January 3, 2023.
U.S. Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) will retire at the end of this Congress, giving both leaders ample reason to finalize an FY23 budget before they leave office. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are expected to become the new leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) David Price (D-NC) will retire at the end of this Congress and is expected to be succeeded by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL). The results of the midterm election will help determine who serve as chair and ranking member in the new Congress.
While talks between Appropriations Committee staff continued throughout Congress’s most recent recess, this week will be a pivotal time for Appropriations leaders hoping to reach a final agreement on topline spending numbers for defense and non-defense programs (known as “302(a)” spending levels). Once topline funding numbers for defense and non-defense discretionary programs are decided, leaders will allocate a topline spending number to each appropriations subcommittee (known as “302(b)” spending levels).
The 302(b) level determines how much funding will be available to subcommittees to divvy up between various programs under their jurisdictions. Congress has until December 16 to enact a final FY23 budget, pass another continuing resolution (CR) to extend the appropriations deadline and keep the federal government funded, or risk a partial government shutdown.
In addition to finalizing an FY23 budget, Congress may enact a text extenders package by the end of the year. NLIHC is urging policymakers to use the tax legislation to expand and reform the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to better serve extremely low-income (ELI) households. Congress regularly extends expiring tax provisions that are only authorized for a set number of years.
With a number of tax provisions up for extension at the end of this year, a tax extenders package represents the best opportunity currently available to expand and make needed legislative changes to the LIHTC program. NLIHC has released a fact sheet and call-to-action tool (see Memo, 10/31) focused on LIHTC reforms and is urging advocates to ask their members of Congress to include these reforms in an end-of-year tax extenders package.
NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) are leading our annual 302(b) letter, calling on Congress to provide the highest possible 302(b) level for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in the FY23 budget. So far, more than 1,800 national, state, local, and tribal organizations have joined the letter, and CHCDF is orchestrating a final push for signatures before re-sending the letter to Congress this week. If your organization has not joined the letter yet, please sign on by November 16 and then share the letter with your networks.
Advocates should also contact their members of Congress and urge them to support the highest possible level of funding for HUD’s and USDA’s affordable housing and homelessness programs in FY23, including significant funding for NLIHC’s top priorities:
- Full funding for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) program to renew all existing contracts and expand housing vouchers to an additional 140,000 households.
- $5 billion for the Public Housing Capital Fund to preserve public housing, and $5.04 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
- $3.6 billion for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants program to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
- $100 million for legal assistance to prevent evictions.
- $300 million for the competitive tribal housing program, targeted to tribes with the greatest needs.
Lastly, advocates should contact their members of Congress and urge them to use the end-of-year tax extenders legislation to expand and reform the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to better serve extremely low-income (ELI) households. (For ways to join this effort, see “Tax Extenders,” above.)
LIHTC is the primary funding source for financing the construction and preservation of affordable housing. While an important resource, LIHTC on its own is generally insufficient to support the construction and preservation of homes affordable to households with the lowest incomes. NLIHC is urging Congress to include the following LIHTC reforms in any tax extenders package:
- Expand the ELI basis boost to 50% for housing developments when at least 20% of units are set aside for households with extremely low incomes or people experiencing homelessness. This provision is included in the bipartisan “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.”
- Set aside 8% of tax credits to help offset the cost to build ELI developments where at least 20% of units are reserved for households with extremely low incomes or those experiencing homelessness.
- Designate tribal and rural communities as “Difficult to Develop Areas (DDAs)” to make them automatically eligible for a 30% basis boost and make it more financially feasible for developers to build affordable homes in these communities. These provisions are also included in the bipartisan “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.”
Learn more about the range of needed changes to LIHTC at: https://bit.ly/3fto1R1
Read the new fact sheet focused on reforms needed for ELI households at: https://bit.ly/3gDnV9o
Contact your members of Congress about LIHTC reforms at: https://p2a.co/4qstqc5