August 5, 2019

President Trump Signs Two-Year Budget Deal

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On August 2, President Trump signed into law a two-year bipartisan budget agreement .This legislation raises spending limits by $320 billion over sequestration levels and suspends the federal debt ceiling until July 31,2021. Non-defense discretionary programs will receive $27 billion more in funding for FY 20 than was allocated in FY 19, and $32 billion more in FY 21 than the current spending level. The deal passed the House of Representatives by a margin of 284-149 and the Senate by a vote of 67-28.

By signing this agreement, lawmakers avoid sequestration, or across-the-board spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which would have applied through fiscal year 2021. Sequestration would have had devastating effects on funding for housing and community development programs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, without the new budget deal to raise the caps, nonmilitary discretionary spending would have been cut by $55 billion, roughly a ten percent drop compared to fiscal year 2019 levels.

Now that President Trump has signed the bill Congress will need to pass FY 20 appropriations legislation to keep the government open after September 30. The Senate’s first step will be to deliver 302(b) allocations to appropriations subcommittees, providing each of the 12 subcommittees with overall funding levels for their individual bills. Appropriators will then need to work quickly to mark up those measures, so they can start negotiations with House lawmakers, who already marked up all their FY 20 measures and passed 10 on the House floor. Negotiations will need to contend with the fact that the top-line numbers used by the House are slightly higher than the budget deal allows for, as the new agreement provides about $15 billion less for non-defense programs. According to Representative David Price (D-NC), who chairs the Transportation-HUD Subcommittee, Senate and House appropriators have already begun these discussions.

Enterprise encourages Congress to quickly pass FY 20 spending bills and provide strong funding levels for affordable housing and community development programs in 2020.

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