January 30, 2019

Lawmakers Restart Spending Negotiations to Avert New Shutdown

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  • Politico reports that the Administration will not be releasing President Trump’s budget request next week, noting that the Office of Management and Budget is working on a revised schedule but has not provided a new release date. Politico notes that many of the federal employees who prepare the budget proposal were furloughed during the five-week government shutdown that ended last week and the Administration and Congressional leaders are focused on negotiating a spending plan to avert a partial shutdown once the current spending stopgap expires on February 15. (PoliticoPro, January 29) According to The Hill, a group of 17 lawmakers from both parties is set to meet for the first time today to negotiate a border security spending plan with the goal of reaching an agreement that could avert a new shutdown on February 15. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has stated that Democrats do not intend to include extended protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in border security negotiations, as he expects to bring a separate immigration bill to the floor in the near future. (The Hill, January 30) 
     
  • Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has sent the President a letter requesting help getting rules for Texas' Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) mitigation funding approved by HUD and Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In the letter, Commissioner Bush explains that while Congress appropriated $4.383 billion to Texas to help rebuild and mitigate against future storms nearly one year ago, HUD has not published rules governing the use of the recovery dollars in the Federal Register to enable the state to use the critical recovery funds. He points out that this continued delay is “resulting in homeowner distress, community degradation and increased costs to the federal government due to subsequent damaging events,” requesting the President’s help to “cut through the red tape and call on HUD and OMB to publish the rules governing the $4.383 billion appropriated to Texas immediately." (Houston Chronicle, January 30) 
     
  • The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released Opportunities to End Homelessness and Housing Poverty in the 116th Congress, a memo to incoming Congressmembers on steps they can take to help address the shortage of affordable housing across the country. This document provides specific recommendations on legislative opportunities – whether through an infrastructure spending package, the appropriations process, housing finance reform, or other initiatives — that can help boost federal investments in affordable housing.  
     
  • The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to set aside $120 million, 10 percent of the Proposition HHH supportive housing bond, for a pilot program that will seek strategies for expediting and containing the cost of permanent supportive housing development. The vote authorized Mayor Eric Garcetti to seek proposals for 1,000 units of supportive housing as a test of alternatives to conventional construction methods, including prefabricated housing, backyard flats, rehabbed single-room-occupancy units, and shared housing. Winning proposals must include space and a plan backed by supportive services for future residents. (LA Times, January 29) 
     
  • Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle has announced the establishment of the city’s Affordable Middle-Income Housing Advisory Council. In a press release, the mayor’s office noted that “while the City remains committed to creating more low-income housing, this new initiative addresses the growing need to help middle-income families.” The Advisory Council aims to identify strategies and tools that can help close existing market gaps and attract significant capital investment to create more affordable, for-sale and rental units for Seattle’s middle-income households. (Office of Mayor Durkan, January 28) 
     
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Census Bureau, which is scrambling to sort through a massive backlog of economic data that piled up between December 22 and January 25, has published an updated calendar for some of its economic-data reports that were halted during the partial government shutdown. According to the updated schedule, the Bureau will publish data on November new-home sales on Thursday, Jan. 31 and reports on November construction spending and wholesale trade on Friday, February 1. The Census Bureau did not provide updates on a number of other closely watched indicators it produces, including housing starts. (WSJ, January 30) We will be updating our analysis of renter and ownership patterns when the quarterly housing vacancy survey is released.

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