President Trump released his first full budget this week, covering FY2018 for all Federal agencies. The administration’s budget traditionally covers a number of topics, including economic assumptions or projections in future years, spending levels across departments and within discrete programs, and policy changes the administration has made a priority. However, as Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) said in a press release, “The Constitution is clear in that funding decisions are ultimately in the hands of Congress.” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) was more direct, declaring the budget “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.
The president’s budget offers a glimpse into the philosophy and goals for this administration with respect to housing policy. HUD’s topline budget allocation is cut by $6-$7 billion, eliminating a number of affordable housing focused programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Choice Neighborhoods, the HOME investment partnership program and the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). Section 8 Voucher assistance and public housing funding received cuts as well under the proposal.
Congress will give customary consideration to the President’s budget proposal in the coming weeks, including a hearing with HUD Secretary Ben Carson. From there, Congress will take up its own budget and continue work on appropriations bills for FY 2018 from now through the end of September, when the current continuing resolution (CR) is set to expire. A detailed explanation of the administration cuts to HUD’s budget can be found here and a statement from HUD on the budget can be found here.