This article looks at the new House of Representatives for the 118th Session of Congress and how the organizing of the House could impact affordable senior housing funding and policy. The article has three parts: how new House rules could impact spending; the new Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on HUD funding; and, first steps by the new Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, which has jurisdiction over housing policy.
How New House Rules Could Impact Housing Spending
On January 9, the House of Representatives adopted its rules package for the 118th session of Congress. The rules span a range of issues. The following new rules impact how Congress works on federal spending and annual appropriations.
The new rules allow members to block increases in appropriations for any program not already authorized by Congress and require the authorizing committee of jurisdiction, which for housing is the Financial Services Committee, to adopt an authorization and oversight plan, by March 1, that includes a list of currently-funded programs with lapsed authorizations and any programs with permanent authorizations that have not been ”subject to a comprehensive review by the committee in the three prior Congresses” as well as recommendations for the termination or consolidation of such programs (note: Congressional authorization for most HUD programs expired many years ago); the new rules require any mandatory spending increases to be paid for with spending cuts through a “cut-as-you-go” rule, instead of the previous “pay-as-you-go” rule (note: LeadingAge’s request to increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit would be impacted by this rule); the new rules require a three-fifths vote of the House to increase income taxes (as opposed to a simple majority); and, the new rules eliminate a practice that automatically suspends the debt limit when the House adopts a budget and now requires the House to hold a specific vote on the debt ceiling (note: media suggest that the new House majority will raise the debt ceiling only hand-in-hand with “commensurate fiscal reforms”).
There are also undocumented reports of other agreements secured between the new House Speaker and his party, including a supposed agreement that House appropriations bills will cap 2024 discretionary spending at fiscal year 2022 levels.
“By boldly shifting away from the centralized legislating of the past and returning to regular order that empower Members, committees, and the public, House Republicans are keeping our commitment to make Congress more open, more accountable, and more responsive to the needs of the American people,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a statement upon the passage of the new rules.
New Chair for HUD Funding Subcommittee; New Appropriations Members
Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) is expected to be the next Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. On January 11, Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) reportedly chose Representative Cole to lead the THUD Subcommittee; her recommendation will be considered the week of January 17 by the Republican Conference, which is expected to support her nominees. In his 11th term in Congress, Representative Cole has long served on the Appropriations Committee but did not serve on the THUD Subcommittee in the last session of Congress. On January 10, Representative Cole was appointed to be the Chair of the House Committee on Rules by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
On January 11, Chairwoman Granger announced the Republican Steering Committee’s recommendations for new Republican Members who will serve on the Committee: Representatives Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Jerry Carl (R-AL), Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Michael Guest (R-MS), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), and Ryan Zinke (R-MT).
The recommendations will now also go before the Republican Conference to be ratified.
House Committee for Housing Policy Organizes
On January 12, House Committee on Financial Services Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) announced subcommittee chairs. The Financial Services Committee has jurisdiction over housing policy, including for HUD and Rural Housing Service programs.
Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH) will Chair the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, which has jurisdiction over developing and pursuing policies that increase and strengthen the housing market, including increasing our nation’s housing supply; overseeing HUD and FHFA policies and operations; and, identifying best practices and policies that continue to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the housing industry.
“It is an honor to be selected by Chairman McHenry to be the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance. Insurance is one of Ohio’s largest industries, with over 111,000 Ohioans working in the industry and 275 insurance companies in the state. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Financial Services Committee to strengthen public policy within this jurisdiction by solving problems that help these markets better serve the American people,” Representative Davidson said in a statement.
In other Financial Services Committee news, while Chairman McHenry chose to do away with the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, he pledged to keep these issues as components of each subcommittee, saying there are bipartisan concerns about “the nature of equity in our country.”