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President’s Forum: Rapidly Approaching, December 3 is a Big Day

FY 22 Appropriations, Debt Limit and Reconciliation Bills All in Play

PHADA President David A. Northern, Sr.

December 3 is a big day for Congress and our programs. By that day, lawmakers must extend the FY 22 Continuing Resolution (CR) or risk a government shutdown with the holiday season approaching. Congress set the same deadline for raising the debt ceiling so that the U.S. retains uninterrupted ability to borrow money. Without that statutory authority, the government will not have sufficient funds for many federal programs. In addition, Congress is moving towards conclusion of debate on legislation that includes tremendous opportunities for our industry (the “Build Back Better Act,” BBBA). Lastly, December 3 happens to be the early bird deadline for registration at PHADA’s upcoming Commissioners Conference. We will be discussing FY 22 appropriations, the BBBA, the debt limit and many other timely topics when we convene in San Diego.

 

FY 22 Appropriations

Fiscal Year 2022 began about two months ago, but there is not a final budget in place yet. Lawmakers and the Biden Administration have instead focused much of their attention on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and a reconciliation bill that contains almost two trillion dollars for many programs including housing.

As noted above, the present CR expires in just a matter of days with some Washington observers predicting Congress will extend the CR into next February or even March.

The full House of Representatives adopted its version of a HUD spending bill earlier this year while the Senate measure was introduced but has not yet cleared the Appropriations Committee. House and Senate leaders have been trying to resolve differences between their two versions, but they have not reached agreement yet on a top line number for total domestic discretionary spending. Republicans are pushing for greater increases in defense spending, while Democrats are more focused on adopting the reconciliation package before the year’s end.

Both appropriations bills contain some helpful increases for our programs. There is a chart and summary of the legislation in this edition. You will see some notable increases in operating, capital and voucher funding in the bills, for example. The legislation would also result in better rents for HAs converting under RAD.

Please review the PHADA Position Paper and advocate to your elected officials that they adopt the higher sum in the various House-Senate provisions whenever they consider a final bill.

 

The Debt Limit and Build Back Better

Congress enacted a temporary measure earlier this autumn that extended federal borrowing authority to early December. Under the debt limit ceiling, the government cannot spend funds above a specific statutory threshold. The U.S. Treasury Department originally estimated the government would hit the ceiling on December 3. Now, Treasury estimates it can fund operations into some unspecified time in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been imploring lawmakers to resolve the matter once and for all.

PHADA strongly encourages members to communicate with your Representatives and Senators, advocating they adopt the FY 22 appropriations measure, debt limit extension and Build Back Better Act as soon as possible.

Absent an agreement, the U.S. would default on some of the $28–$29 trillion in current debt. Many economists believe that such a default would have a calamitous effect on the U.S. and world economies. Nevertheless, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said his conference will not support another debt limit extension, calling on Democrats to approve an extension on their own. You will no doubt hear and read more about this urgent matter in the national media in the coming days.

As if there were not enough going on in Washington now, readers know Congress is considering a critically important reconciliation package, which contains tens of billion of dollars for our programs, including historic amounts in capital and voucher funding. That measure also includes tax provisions that would benefit affordable housing programs and residents. You can read more about this historic legislation here.

The Build Back Better legislation is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY for us to secure desperately needed funding to address our aging housing stock and expand assistance to hundreds of thousands of more low-income families. PHADA strongly encourages members to communicate with your Representatives and Senators, advocating they adopt the FY 22 appropriations measure, debt limit extension and Build Back Better Act as soon as possible.

 

PHADA’s Early Bird Deadline

By coincidence, December 3 is the last day to benefit from the lower registration fee for PHADA’s 2022 Commissioners Conference. Depending on availability, attendees may not be able to secure a hotel room beyond that date either, so please act now. As I noted above, we will cover the latest information on all these and other hot topics when we are in San Diego. The full program can be found on our website and the conference Whova App. I hope to see many of you in January.