In a draft bill released on November 10, 2020, the Senate proposes to fund most rural housing programs in fiscal year 2021 at the same levels supported by the House. The fiscal year started on October 1 and the federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution that provides funding through December 11. The House passed appropriations bills in July but the Senate released all 12 of its proposed measures for the first time on November 10. The Senate is not expected to pursue the standard process of marking up and voting on its bills; instead, they establish starting positions for negotiations on a final omnibus bill that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
Like the House, the Senate rejected most of the Trump Administration’s budget proposals for the USDA rural housing programs and would maintain most of them at FY20 levels. There are differences, however, for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) and rental preservation efforts.
The House and Senate both provide $1.410 billion for RA, the amount requested by the Administration. The House adheres to the budget request and includes $40 million for Section 542 vouchers within the RA total. The Senate proposes to provide $34 million for vouchers separately, but still uses the $1.410 billion total for RA.
Both the House and Senate offer less than the $40 million requested by the Administration for the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program. The House provides $30 million, the Senate $28 million. The Senate also includes $2 million for preservation-related technical assistance.
The House and Senate bills both continue the requirement for 10 percent of most USDA Rural Development programs to be directed to persistent poverty counties, those where the poverty rate has exceeded 20 percent for at least 30 years.
|USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)
|FY19 Final Approp.||FY20 Final Approp.||FY21 Admin. Budget||FY21 House Bill
||FY21 Senate Bill|
|502 Single Fam. Direct
|502 Single Family Guar.||24,000||24,000||24,000||24,000||24,000|
|504 VLI Repair Loans||28||28||0||28||28|
|504 VLI Repair Grants||30||30||30||30||30|
|515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.||40||40||0||40||40|
|514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.||27.5||28||0||28||28|
|516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.||10||10||0||10||10|
|521 Rental Assistance||1,331.4||1,375||1,410**||1,410**||1,410|
|523 Self-Help TA||30||31||0||31||31|
|533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants||15||15||15||15||15|
|538 Rental Hsg. Guar.||230||230||230||230||230|
|Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)||24.5||28||40||30||28|
|542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers||27||32||40**||40**||34|
|Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.||6||6||0||6||6|
|Rental Prsrv. TA||1||1||0||0||2|
* For the self-help setaside in Section 502 direct, the figures in the table represent budget authority, not program levels.
** The budget and the FY21 House bill would separate vouchers from MPR and move them into the Rental Assistance account. The Senate bill would not.