The omnibus funds many of USDA’s rural housing programs at their pre-sequestration FY13 levels. Section 521 Rental Assistance stands out, receiving a much-needed increase for FY14. After sequestration took effect, FY13 funding for Rental Assistance fell short by about $65 million. The higher amount in FY14 means another shortfall this year is unlikely. For more information from the Housing Assistance Council, click here.
The omnibus provides $2.4 billion for Rural Development programs, which is $180 million above the FY 2013 enacted level. These programs help spur economic growth by supporting basic infrastructure, providing loans to rural businesses and industries, and helping strengthen housing markets in rural areas.
Specifically, the bill provides the USDA Rural Housing Service with $2.2 billion in direct loans (unchanged from FY 2013 pre-sequestration), $59.5 million in guaranteed loans (a $2.06 million increase from FY 2013 pre-sequestration), and almost $30 million in grants to help fund rural hospitals, schools, and health clinics through the Rural Community Facilities Program. The bill also provides $900 million for Single Family Housing Direct Loans including $24 billion in unsubsidized loan guarantees – unchanged from FY 2013 levels. To read the entire Omnibus Special Report from the National Association of Counties, click here.
The House on December 12 approved by a 332-94 vote a bipartisan budget agreement that had been announced earlier in the week. If the Senate also approves H.J. Res. 59, setting an overall budget framework, Congressional appropriators will then move to complete spending bills for the rest of FY 2014. The Agriculture and Transportation-HUD bills appear to be candidates for inclusion in an omnibus wrap-up law. Other more contentious appropriations measures, such the Labor-HHS bill, will likely end up in a year-long continuing resolution for 2014. Senate action is expected during the week of December 16. No spending levels for programs have so far been revealed. Click here to read more from the Housing Assistance Council.