Over the Memorial Day weekend, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the Bipartisan Budget Agreement to raise the debt ceiling. This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives released the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which would raise the debt ceiling until 2025. According to news media reports, the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 includes the following:
Spending caps: In the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget cycle, nondefense discretionary funding will remain at 2023 funding levels. This flat funding could have adverse effects on public housing authorities, as it amounts to a cut for HUD programs that are sensitive to variables like inflation and interest rates. In April, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge testified that HUD would need an additional $13 billion to $16 billion to keep pace with current levels of assistance. Across the board spending cuts are a blunt instrument that can be detrimental to programs directly tied to people, such as the Housing Choice Voucher program. Non-defense discretionary funding will receive a one percent increase in FY 2025.
EHV and ERAP Funding: Congress would rescind about $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funding. Emergency Housing Vouchers and Emergency Rental Assistance funding should not be affected.
Appropriations: If Congress does not pass all twelve appropriations bills by year’s end, all programs will face a one percent spending cut to ensure spending bills are passed in a timely manner and to avoid government shutdowns and full-year continuing resolutions (CR).
Work requirements: Individuals receiving housing assistance were not subjected to work requirements, however recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families who are up to the age of 54 would need to meet work requirements. Veterans, the unhoused, people with children, and individuals recently out of the foster care system are exempt from these work requirements.
The House Rules Committee will convene today to prepare the 99-page bill for votes on Wednesday, May 30, 2023. The House and Senate will each vote on the legislation before the nation defaults on its debts on June 5.