The Senate Committee on Appropriations unanimously approved the fiscal year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act, which will pump significantly more money into HUD and affordable housing than allocated in President Donald Trump’s budget.
The final version of the THUD Senate Appropriations bill provides a total of $60.058 billion in discretionary budget authority, which is a little over $12 billion more than the president’s budget request.
Along with funneling funding into transportation, transit and the Federal Railway Administration, $21 million will be available Oct. 1 for the renewal of Section 8 housing vouchers to maintain rental housing assistance for 5 million households.
The legislation will also provide additional resources to prevent and end homelessness among veterans and youth; $2.5 billion will go toward homeless assistance programs and includes several provisions to improve HUD’s delivery of housing and services. The bill also includes $20 million for new family unification vouchers to prevent youth exiting foster care from becoming homeless.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said, “This bill maintains our critical commitment to transportation and housing. … While the bill uses available resources wisely, it still falls short because of the artificial budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act. Indeed, the funding provided in this bill is still less in nominal terms than it was in 2010. Simply put, we need a new deal on the budget."
The bill will restore some critical housing provisions that were up for elimination under Trump’s budget proposal. The president’s budget request, which calls for a more than a $6 billion cut to HUD’s budget, has drawn criticism from affordable housing groups and homelessness advocates who say the cuts will have devastating effects on the already-dwindling supply of affordable housing.
“Our bill strikes the right balance between thoughtful investment and fiscal restraint, thereby setting the stage for future economic growth,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee and sponsor of the bill. The bill received bipartisan support, passing 31-0 July 27.