President Trump Signed Three-Week Spending Bill to Reopen Shuttered Federal Departments
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- On Friday night, the partial government shutdown ended when the President signed into law a three-week spending bill that does not include funding for the proposed border wall, allowing a bipartisan Congressional committee to draft a funding proposal to increase border security. This bill reopens the nine shuttered federal departments, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Treasury and Agriculture, through February 15. The New York Times reports that Congressional members from both parties are leading efforts to enact legislation that would keep the government open at existing spending levels, rather than shuttering part or all of the government, when Congress and the President face a budget impasse. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has reintroduced a measure that calls for funding agencies covered by an appropriations measure that was not signed into law by the beginning of the fiscal year at existing levels while negotiations continue, preventing any lapse that incites a shutdown. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has introduced legislation that would avoid a partial or full shutdown by maintaining funding for all agencies but the legislative branch and the White House while budget negotiations proceed. (NYT, January 26)
- The state of California has filed a lawsuit against the city of Huntington Beach alleging that the jurisdiction has failed to allow enough new homebuilding to accommodate a growing population. This case marks the first lawsuit filed under enhanced authority given last year to the governor’s office to investigate compliance with a state law that requires jurisdictions to identify local housing supply goals that would enable them to accommodate projected population growth. A recent analysis by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley, found that about 10 percent of the state’s jurisdictions had made their zoning codes more restrictive over the past five years, including Huntington Beach. Michael Gates, Huntington Beach’s city attorney, has released a statement arguing that delays in making more progress on housing have been caused by other lawsuits and that the city “will review all of its options in order to respond to the lawsuit.” (WSJ, January 25)
- Earlier this week HUD awarded $2 billion to renew existing grants to 5,800 permanent supportive housing and supportive services providers. Awarded through HUD’s Continuum of Care program, those grants will provide critically needed support to local programs serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness. (View a complete list of all the state and local projects awarded funding.) As previously reported in Community Developments, HUD's 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 552,830 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2018, an increase of 0.3 percent since 2017.
- CoreLogic has released its 2018 Natural Hazard report, which examines the impact of last year’s natural disasters on residential and commercial real estate. In 2018, the U.S. witnessed 11 weather and climate disaster events that each caused losses exceeding $1 billion. The report highlights that residential and commercial flood damage in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia from Hurricane Florence is estimated at $19 billion to $28.5 billion. It also points out that a total of 11 western states had at least one wildfire that exceeded 50,000 burned acres; the leading states were California and Oregon, each with seven fires that burned more than 50,000 acres. (CoreLogic, January 24)
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has released LeadFreeNYC, a comprehensive plan that aims to end childhood lead exposure across the city. The plan calls for screening every unit for potential lead hazards, eliminating lead risks in New York City Housing Authority’s developments and family shelters, providing children with dedicated nurses, and linking together all city agencies responding to lead exposure. The city will also hire a citywide Lead Compliance Officer and expand an advisory board to meet the plan’s goals. (NYC.gov, January 28)