Federal Government Shutdown Continues - A Plan in the House Emerges

As federal legislative leaders zeroed in before the end of the year on a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown, President Trump announced he would not sign a spending bill without $5 billion for his southern border wall. In the end, there was no agreement to move forward a spending bill, shutting down the federal government, which now enters its twelfth day. Because Congress passed a funding bill in September for Defense, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services departments, this is only a partial government shutdown. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not been funded and is shutdown.

In anticipation for a possible lapse in appropriations, HUD issued a contingency plan outlining how each program will operate under a government shutdown and which types of actions HUD can take. A limited number of employees are “excepted” from the furlough requirement because of functional activities they perform.

Democrats in the U.S. House, who will be in the majority on Thursday when the new Congress convenes, have announced their plan to pass a bill immediately. The Senate, still controlled by Republicans, has voiced their objection to passing a bill that the president would veto. The president’s press secretary called the House Democrat’s plan a “non-starter” in a statement issued late Sunday.  

The House plan includes funding for the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) budget. The House T-HUD budget tracks closely to the Senate version of the T-HUD budget which was passed on August 1, 2018. This includes $22.8 billion in funding for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, enough to renew all existing vouchers. The House plan also includes $2.8 billion for The Public Housing Capital Fund. Other housing programs would also receive $12.6 billion (an increase of $137 million above the FY2018 level), including $11.7 billion to fully-fund Project-Based Rental Assistance.