The fate of the Build Back Better (BBB) continues to be uncertain. At the same time, House and Senate leaders are negotiating a final spending bill that allocates funding to agencies for the next year. Here are two briefs summarizing housing investment priorities at risk in BBB and the status of the federal funding plan.

Build Back Better Housing Investment Priorities at Risk

The fate of the Build Back Better (BBB) continues to be uncertain. As of today, BBB is stalled in Congress and plans are being made to enact a scaled-back version of the bill that focuses on only a few priorities. The remaining parts of BBB are expected to be repackaged into smaller bills and handled separately. Unfortunately, the future of the ambitious housing investment included in the BBB– $150 billion for affordable housing and homelessness programs—is in jeopardy.  

Any items that do not make it into the BBB package, which will be handled through reconciliation and require only a majority vote of Congress, will need 60 votes to pass—a high hurdle for housing to meet. Advocates are gearing up to apply pressure on their members of Congress to support housing as a part of the final bill. As of this time, the hope is to come to agreement on the spending plan before the March 1st State of the Union, but prospects of this occurring are expected to be slim given that the White House is also tasked with nominating a new Supreme Court judge to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Federal Funding Plan 

At the same time, House and Senate leaders are negotiating a final spending bill that allocates funding to agencies for the next year. The current Continuing Resolution (CR), which funds agencies at current levels from the previous year’s spending bill, expires on February 18th. This effectively results in a reduction in agencies’ budgets since the CR does not account for inflation. Before then, Congress will need to pass another short-term Continuing Resolution or come to agreement on the spending bill’s provisions.  

 Included in the House bill under discussion is an expansion of rental housing assistance to house 125,000 more households; the Senate version does not include this major expansion. While housing may not be at the top of the President’s priority list, the Administration will need to reach an agreement that members of Congress support. Both Chairwoman Maxine Waters, the Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Chairman Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, have continued to keep housing at the top of their expenditure list, ensuring that it will remain part of the conversation.