December 20, 2018
Senate Passed Stopgap Measure to Avert Partial Government Shutdown
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- Last night the Senate passed by voice vote a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government through February 8, advancing to the House a stopgap spending measure to avert a partial shutdown that could start on December 22. The CR would fund the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Treasury at fiscal year 2018 levels until the February 8 deadline, as well as reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program to the same date. The stopgap measure does not include $5 billion for funding the border wall that the Administration has requested from Congress. The House has yet to consider this measure. The House may also consider Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) year-end tax legislation, but the Senate is unlikely to consider this tax measure during this legislative session. The House is expected to vote on the measure today. Stay tuned to our newsletters and blog for updates on budget and appropriations.
- Yesterday HUD awarded $139 million to 48 state and local government agencies to help protect children and families from lead-based paint and home health hazards. HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced the grants at an event with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services that unveiled the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure, a blueprint for “reducing lead exposure through collaboration among federal agencies to diminish childhood exposure to lead from lead-based paint and other sources.” Provided through HUD's Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs, these funds will help 6,500 lower-income households living in homes with significant lead and other health hazards. (HUD, December 19)
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has published Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac's modified Underserved Markets Plans for 2018-2020 under the Duty to Serve program. In 2016, the FHFA published a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, requiring both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan that aims to increase the liquidity of mortgage financing to families with very low to moderate incomes in three underserved markets: rural housing; manufactured housing; and affordable housing preservation. Earlier this year the FHFA requested public input on four of Fannie Mae's proposed 22 modifications but did not seek input on Freddie Mac's one proposed modification, as it was deemed a correction. (FHFA, December 19)
- In an op-ed, Roy Wright, president and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, urges policymakers, local leaders and voters to work together to make communities more resilient to wildfires. He notes that the recent National Climate Assessment predicts that areas burned by wildfires could increase by six-fold over the next 30 years. (San Francisco Chronicle, December 17) An analysis of wildfire hazards across California found that more than 1.1 million structures, or 1 in 10 buildings, are located within the highest-risk fire zones. According to the analysis, Los Angeles and San Diego are the two jurisdictions with the largest number of structures in the way of fire hazard, with 114,000 and 88,00 structures, respectively, in the highest-risk zones. The analysis points out that California’s total number of at-risk structures is probably higher than 1.1 million, as the analysis employed a database of building footprints that is not comprehensive. (LA Times, December 18)
- According to the National Association of Realtors, U.S. existing home sales in November rose 1.9 percent month-over-month but dropped 7 percent year-over-year to 5.32 million. Between November 2017 and November 2018, inventory of existing homes for sale increased by nearly 4 percent to 1.74 million. The median existing home sale price in November was $257,700, up 4.2 percent from November 2017. (Zillow, December 19)