Lawmakers Negotiate Spending Deal with Limited Time to Fund the Government
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- With the current Continuing Resolution (CR) set to expire this Friday, February 15, Congressional negotiators are working to reach agreement on a full-year funding deal for the rest of FY 2019. Lawmakers were aiming to post bill text by Monday evening to meet the House Democratic majority's new rules and allow the Senate to consider the legislation by Friday evening. If no deal is reached, Congress will need to pass another short-term CR in order to give negotiators more time, or face another partial government shutdown.
- HUD has submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget proposed changes to its 2013 Disparate Impact Rule. Last year, HUD released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in the Federal Register inviting public comment on possible amendments to the disparate impact regulations, which state that housing providers, lenders and insurers can be held liable for seemingly neutral practices that have a discriminatory effect on classes of persons protected under the Fair Housing Act. The ANPR noted that HUD’s goal is to “determine what changes, if any, are appropriate following the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., which held that disparate impact claims were cognizable under the Fair Housing Act and discussed standards for, and the constitutional limitations on, such claims.” Once the proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments to the agency. (NLIHC, February 11)
- A blog post by the Urban Institute looks at the Green New Deal (GND) resolution, which was released last week by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The resolution sets a 10-year time frame to accomplish multiple objectives, such as achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and modernizing infrastructure, through a range of projects and initiatives. Those efforts include investing in climate-resilient projects, carrying out green upgrades for all buildings, and providing education and training resources to fill the entire framework’s workforce needs. The blog points out that the resolution, S.R. 59 and H.R. 109, “sets a broader vision for other legislation, rulemaking, and federal programs, rather than being a detailed plan or bill itself.” (Urban Institute, February 8)
- This Wednesday, February 13, the House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on “Homeless in America: Examining the Crisis and Solutions to End Homelessness.” The next day, the Committee will hold another hearing on affordable housing, “The Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural America: Assessing the Federal Response.”
- On Thursday, February 14, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on the nomination of Mark Calabria to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In the same hearing, the Committee will also consider the nomination of Bimal Patel to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Todd Harper and Rodney Hood to be members of the National Credit Union Administration Board.
- The IRS will also hold a hearing on Thursday, February 14 on Opportunity Zones (OZ) regulations. This hearing, which was previously postponed due to the partial government shutdown that lasted through January 25, will discuss proposed OZ guidance released in October 2018.
In Case You Missed It
- In a new blog post, Enterprise’s Vice President of Policy Development and Research Andrew Jakabovics summarizes and responds to Senator Mike Crapo’s (R-ID) recent outline for housing finance reform. The proposal would convert Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) into private guarantors of mortgage-backed securities that would then be sold through a platform operated by Ginnie Mae. The new Ginnie Mae–backed securities would carry an explicit full-faith and credit guarantee from the federal government that would be paid for by the GSEs, and by any other guarantors who enter the market later. The outline also proposes to eliminate any affordable housing goals and duty to serve obligations, replacing them with a new “Market Access Fund.” Jakabovics argues that eliminating the explicit commitment to affordable housing is a step in the wrong direction and that the housing finance system should be designed from the start to serve eligible borrowers of modest and mid-priced homes in the normal course of business and without special programs. Learn more about the reform outline as well as Enterprise’s initial reaction to the proposal on our blog.