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Congress to act soon on omnibus appropriations bill for 2015

Yesterday Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, introduced an omnibus bill (H.R. 83) to wrap up all of the unfinished appropriations business for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. You can read the text of the HUD portion of the bill here (see PDF pages 38 to 55) and the HUD portion of the explanatory statement here. In brief, the bill provides the following amounts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

  • Public housing operating fund: $4.4 billion, $40 million over the 2014 amount
  • Public housing capital fund: $1.9 billion, no change from the 2014 amount
  • Section 8 tenant-based vouchers: $19.3 billion, $127 million over the 2014 amount (This total includes funding for voucher renewals, tenant protection vouchers, administrative fees, and new vouchers for homeless veterans, nonelderly disabled families, and the family unification program.)

If approved by both chambers of Congress, the bill will raise the cap on the number of public housing conversions allowed under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) from 60,000 to 185,000, relax the flat rent requirements that were mandated under the 2014 appropriations act, and increase the cap on fungibility between public housing capital and operating funds. The bill also includes the following language regarding physical needs assessments:

The agreement prohibits HUD from requiring or enforcing the physical needs assessment (PNA) in fiscal year 2015. HUD is not, however, prohibited from continuing to work on a PNA tool that will help PHAs assess the physical quality of their public housing stock in a way that is not overly burdensome. HUD is expected to continue to evaluate the PNA tool and update its 2014 report to the Committees on Appropriations, as specified in the Senate report accompanying this act, no later than March 2, 2015.

Currently, much of the federal government is being funded under a continuing resolution (CR). That resolution will expire tomorrow, so the House likely will pass a new CR to give the Senate time to approve the omnibus bill.

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