Follow Us! 

President’s Forum: Congressional Appropriators Start Marking Up Bills

Stormy Budget Forecast for 2025 

PHADA President Mark Gillett.

The start of FY 25 is now only three months away. House appropriators have begun marking up spending bills and turned to the T-HUD legislation days before this went to print (see the report on the bill on page 1 of the new Advocate). As reported in prior editions of the Advocate, lawmakers and the Biden Administration are working within the parameters of last year’s budget agreement, which set strict caps on domestic discretionary spending. That deal left little room for even inflationary adjustments. 

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) chairs the full Appropriations Committee. Cole has indicated he hopes to pass most spending bills in the House before the August congressional recess. He and others in the House majority hope to boost defense spending which, because of the strict caps, would necessitate cuts in non-defense programs. Indeed, the House’s draft bill would cut HUD funding significantly. 

Chairman Cole’s Senate counterpart, Patty Murray (D-WA) has said there must be “parity” between defense and non-defense programs. “The caps for FY 24 are already causing serious pain and serious challenges, and the caps for FY 25 are grossly inadequate,” Sen. Murray said. “I can’t emphasize enough that, under the caps for non-defense, everything struggles to keep up with rising costs. So, to me, the path for the Senate is clear: we have got to provide additional resources beyond the caps to address major shortfalls and new challenges.” It is not yet clear when the Senate will mark up its bills, but that legislation will be quite different from House versions.


Continuing Resolution is Likely in Early Autumn

Congressional staff on both sides of the aisle have told PHADA there is virtually no chance lawmakers will complete appropriations before the September 30 deadline. The most likely scenario is the enactment of a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund programs at current levels sometime through the fall elections. Some observers have opined that the “lame duck” Congress that reconvenes after the elections will then defer action until a new Congress assumes office early next year. In this scenario, a CR would remain in place with a final budget not completed until later in the first quarter of 2025.

As I wrote back in May, we have experienced this kind of scenario in recent years. It could mean that a final budget is not in place until at least 4–5 months after the start of the fiscal year. At a time of escalating costs (especially insurance) and an onslaught of new HUD regulations, this kind of delay creates even more uncertainty and difficulty for us. PHADA will therefore vigorously push its priorities, encouraging lawmakers to finish a budget—that contains adequate funding for our programs—before next year, which is likely to be even more contentious on budget matters.


A Gloomy Budget Horizon 

Some lawmakers have urged Congress to complete appropriations and “clear the deck” before the new year. They cite the fact that FY 25 appropriations are just one of a few major budgetary challenges the next Congress will otherwise need to confront. In 2025, lawmakers will again have to increase the debt ceiling to allow the government to continue its borrowing authority. In addition, the Trump-era tax cuts expire with many lawmakers advocating they be permanently extended. 

All this will play out in a dire budget environment. The Congressional Budget Office just released a new report indicating that the national debt will balloon to more than $50 trillion in the next decade. Because of rising interest rates, the government will spend more on annual debt service payments than on defense spending. Regardless of which party controls Congress and the White House, the coming debate promises to be quite difficult – why we hope ’25 appropriations are completed this year. 


PHADA Appreciates HUD’s Decisions on HIP, NSPIRE-V 

As I have previously reported, PHADA and other industry groups met with Acting HUD Secretary Adrianne Todman in May. Among other things, we requested that HUD defer implementation of NSPIRE-V inspections for the voucher program and HOTMA compliance until the new Housing Information Portal (HIP) is up and successfully running. 

HUD recently announced a delay in onboarding agencies to HIP, the successor system to PIC. The Department’s June 17 communication does not provide a revised timeline for the HIP transition, instead noting that “the schedule… will be revised in the coming weeks as HUD is not ready for the transition and critical dates will be extended.” This, in turn, will necessitate changes to the HOTMA compliance date. Please see the related article in this edition for more details. 

Regarding NSPIRE-V, the groups mentioned that HAs are presently challenged by inadequate funding, rising tenant account receivables, and big increases in the cost of insurance. In addition, PHADA has pointed out the NSPIRE-V implementation timeline may negatively affect landlord participation in the voucher program. We therefore recommended that HUD defer NSPIRE-V and work with HAs, owners, and others to first resolve inspection problems encountered in the public and multifamily housing programs. 

We appreciate that HUD has granted the request for an extension until October 2025. The Department’s June 14 communication from Richard J. Monocchio, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, can be accessed here for further details.  

Join PHADA Today. Link to online application.