With an Oct. 1 government shutdown looming, the House last night approved a stopgap spending measure on a 220-211 party line vote that would fund every government agency at current levels through Dec. 3.
However, passage of the House bill does not assure the government will stay open after Sept. 30 (the end of the current fiscal year) because the legislation is not expected to get the support of at least 10 Senate Republicans that is needed to move the bill forward in the upper chamber.
Of note to the housing community, the House legislation would keep the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) funded through Dec. 3 as well. NAHB continues to work with Congress to achieve a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that will keep the program fiscally sound and let builders provide safe and affordable housing.
The House legislation also contains $1.36 billion for expenses related to wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters that occurred 2019, 2020 and 2021. This includes $175 million for hazardous fuels management and $175 million for burned area rehabilitation activities. In addition, the legislation provides a waiver for calendar year 2021 of the annual pay cap for emergency wildland fire suppression workers at the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service.
The House bill also attached a 15-month suspension of the federal debt limit, which is expected to reach its ceiling in early October. Raising or suspending the debt ceiling would not authorize new spending; it would enable the United States to borrow money to pay spending that Congress has already authorized.
Failure to raise the debt ceiling would put the government in technical default as the U.S. Treasury would no longer be able to borrow funds to enable the U.S. government to pay its bills.
For more information, contact Jessica Hall.