HTML _ RL30446 - Housing Issues in the 106th Congress
7-Aug-2000; E. Richard Bourdon; 8 p.

Abstract: On June 21, 2000, the House passed the VA-HUD FY2001 appropriations bill, H.R. 4635, that recommends $30.0 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is an increase of nearly 16% or $4.1 billion more than the $25.9 billion enacted last year. But, it is $2.5 billion less than the Administration's request for $32.5 billion. The Housing Certificate Fund would receive $13.275 billion, $853 million less than the Administration's request. No funds are specifically designated for the 120,000 incremental rental housing vouchers that the Administration requested. However, the House-passed bill provides for 10,000 vouchers to be used with low income housing tax credit projects and another 10,000 new limited-use vouchers that could be used by public housing authorities with a 97% voucher utilization rate. While the VA-HUD subcommittee believes the $13.275 billion approved for the Housing Certificate Fund is sufficient to renew all expiring Section 8 rental assistance contracts and protect all current tenants, the Administration is concerned that this may not be the case. Some HUD programs would receive less funding than last year: the public housing capital fund, HOPE VI, Community Development Block Grants and the HOME programs. Programs for the homeless, the elderly, and the disabled would receive the same level of funding as in FY2000. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet approved a HUD budget. In addition to deliberations over the HUD budget, other agenda items during the second session of the 106th Congress include bills to increase the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (H.R. 175/S. 1017) and private activity bonds (H.R. 864, S. 459). On July 25, 2000, a community renewal bill supported by both the Speaker of the House and the President, H.R. 4923, passed the House. This bill would phase-in an increase in both the housing tax credit and the private activity bond program. H.R. 1776, a bill containing homeownership initiatives, was passed by the House on April 6 by a vote of 417 to 8. Other bills with hearings or committee votes include H.R. 21, which would reinsure state disaster insurance programs, and H.R. 1073, which would consolidate McKinney Act homeless housing programs into a block grant to states. Bills have been introduced to address concerns over ¨predatory lending¨ to lower income homebuyers, including fraudulent appraisals, exorbitant loan fees and other onerous mortgage terms. These include H.R. 3901, H.R. 4213, H.R. 4250, S. 2405 and S. 2415. There are also recent bills proposing alternative uses for an estimated $5 billion of ¨excess¨ Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program reserves. H.R. 4795 and S. 2914 would require HUD to make partial rebates of FHA excess reserves to certain FHA-insured homeowners. On July 27, 2000, S. 2997 was introduced to establish a national affordable housing trust fund financed by excess incomes (reserves) generated by the FHA mortgage insurance program and by HUD's Government National Mortgage Association. [read report]

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