Last night, the conference committee tasked with coming up with a topline spending number for fiscal year (FY) 2014 reached a deal. They came up with a deal that would set FY 2014 total spending at around $1 trillion - more than the $967 billion level proposed by the House, but far less than the $1.058 trillion number the Senate was using to write its FY 2014 funding bills.
The House and Senate still need to vote on and approve the $1 trillion spending level and it seems very likely that that will occur in the next few days. Following congressional approval, appropriators in the House and Senate will be moving fast to finalize FY 2014 spending bills. Since they will be working with a new number, the appropriators will have to write new bills - including a new HUD funding bill.
Given the quick turnaround for the appropriators, we also need to work quickly to make sure that every Member knows the importance of HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in their communities as they work on these funding bills.
Here's What You Can Do:
1. Call your senators and representative(s) THIS WEEK. Ask to speak to the person who handles housing issues.
a. You can reach your Members' offices by calling the congressional switchboard at 202.224.3121.
2. Tell your Members that HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants need an increase in FY 2014!
a. Use this paper to help you make your case.
3. Let us know which office(s) you contacted!
NOW is our opportunity to capitalize on "regular order" and make another big push for homeless assistance funding. We need to make sure that Members of Congress work to make up for the FY 2013 Continuum of Care cuts (see next article) and ensure that we continue our great progress preventing and ending homelessness in America.
The deal struck by the conference committee includes numerous components. It eases sequestration cuts by approximately $63 billion in FY 2014 and FY 2015. This would be paid for through increases in various fees, including airline fees, raising contributions federal employees make to their retirement plans, and increasing premiums for a variety of pensions, among an assortment of other smaller savings provisions. The easing in sequestration cuts will likely result in more funding for HUD in the upcoming years.
Congress is very likely to finalize FY 2014 spending by the January 15 deadline and we need to make sure that as many Members as possible know they must provide an INCREASE to HUD's McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.