Senate Democrats

S. 1789, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008

Summary and Background

On July 16, 2007, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported S.1789, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008, and the bill was placed on the Senate calendar.  The bill would provide $104.6 billion for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a number of independent agencies for Fiscal Year 2008.  This amount is $4.4 billion above the Bush Administration’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $5.3 billion above the Fiscal Year 2007 level.

The Senate is expected to bring the house version of this bill, H.R.3074, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008, to the floor the week of September 10.  It is anticipated that a substitute amendment will be offered to replace the text of H.R.3074 with that of S.1789

Major Provisions

Title I: Department of Transportation

S.1789 would provide $65.7 billion in total budgetary resources for the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is $2.57 billion above the Fiscal Year 2007 level and $1.24 billion more than the Administration’s request.

S.1789 would include funding for the following major activities of the Department of Transportation and related agencies:

  • Federal Aviation Administration;
  • Federal Highway Administration;
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration;
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
  • Federal Railroad Administration;
  • Federal Transit Administration;
  • Maritime Administration;
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; and
  • Surface Transportation Board.

Office of the Secretary

S.1789 would provide $95.2 million for the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.  These funds are used for policy development and the central supervisory and coordinating functions at the DOT.  They supply the offices of the Secretary and its Deputy and Assistant Secretaries, Governmental Affairs, Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response, Chief Information Officer, the General Counsel, Public Affairs, Civil Rights, and the Department’s Working Capital Fund.

Of note, the bill would provide more than $18.7 million for the General Counsel for Fiscal Year 2008.  That funding level is level is $2.5 million more than the budget request and about $3.6 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The additional funds would be used to increase investigations of airline traveler consumer complaints, including flight cancellations.

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates and promotes the development and safety of air commerce and controls the use of navigable air space in the United States.  The bill would appropriate $14.94 billion for the FAA, which is $400 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The funding increase is focused on improving safety by adding more air safety staff.

The FAA has several major responsibilities: regulating civil aviation and developing new aviation technology; operating the air traffic control system; improving air traffic control facilities and equipment; and providing grants through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

Operations.  S.1789 would provide $8.761 billion for operations, maintenance, communications, and logistic support of the air traffic control and navigation systems and activities.  This funding level is $35 million more than the budget request and $387.6 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Facilities and equipment.  S.1789 would provide $2.52 billion for major capitol investments, modernizing and improving air traffic control and airway facilities, experimental research and development facilities, and improvements to enhance the safety and capacity of the national airspace system.

Research, engineering and development. S.1789 would provide $148.8 million for long-term research, engineering and development programs to improve the air traffic control system by increasing its safety and capacity, as well as reducing the environmental impacts of air traffic.  The funding level is $8.8 million more than the budget request and $18.6 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Grants-in-aid for airports.  S.1789 would provide $3.51 billion for grants-in-aid for airports for safety improvements, security needs, and bringing up runways to FAA standards.  This is $765million above the budget request and equal to the Fiscal Year 2007enacted level.

Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) partners with states and local governments to deliver federal funds that help satisfy our transportation needs.  S.1789 would allocate the FHWA with $40.26 billion to continue and maintain a safe, efficient, and effective highway and intermodal system nationwide.  This is $671 million above the Administration’s request and $276 million above the enacted level.  The funding increase is centered on improving the FHWA’s highway aid to states in order to meet growing transportation needs while protecting the environment.

Federal-aid for highways. S.1789 would distribute $40.216 billion to the Federal-aid highways program for disbursement to states and local governments to develop, construct, and repair highways and bridges.  Funds are distributed through apportionments and allocations to states which have the flexibility to best meet each states individual needs.  This account also funds efforts to reduce traffic congestion as well as efforts to improve air quality.  The funding allowance is $631 million more than what the Administration requested and more than 1.13 billion more than what was enacted for Fiscal Year 2007.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created by the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 and became operational on January 1, 2000.  The FMCSA promotes safe commercial motor vehicle operation and works to reduce truck and bus accidents.  Additionally, the FMSCA has the responsibility to ensure all commercial vehicles entering the United States along its southern and northern borders comply with all federal motor carrier safety and hazardous materials regulations. 

S.1789 would fundFMSCA at $531 million for FY 2008 which is $3.47 million more than the level requested by the President and $14.47 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The level appropriated is $3.47 million more than the level authorized in SAFETEA-LU.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for motor vehicle safety, highway safety behavioral programs, and the motor vehicle information and automobile fuel economy programs.  Specifically, the account funds drunk driving prevention programs and establishes and enforces safety standards for vehicles.

S.1789 would spend $835 million for NHTSA. This funding level would be $2.4 million more than the President’s request and $14.7 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The funding increase will be used to help reduce the alarming rise in the rate of fatalities as measured against 100 million vehicles miles traveled.

Federal Railroad Administration

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) plans, develops, and administers programs to achieve safe operating and mechanical practices in the railroad industry as well as grants to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and other financial assistance programs to rehabilitate and improve the railroad industry’s infrastructure.

S.1789 would appropriate $151 million for Safety and Operations for Fiscal Year 2008, which is $2.7 million more than the budget request and about $900,000 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The very modest increase in spending is principally directed towards funding increased railroad safety and oversight. 

Federal Transit Administration

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) assists in collaborating with municipal governments to construct public mass transit systems.  Specifically, the FTA focuses on improving mass transit operations, promotes mass transportation within urban areas, and provides funds to state and municipal governments in order to facilitate the mobility of transit dependent individuals.  Improving and expanding mass transit across the country can reduce traffic congestion, improve the environment, and facilitate economic growth.

S.1789 would provide $9.59 billion in total budget resources for the FTA. The funding level recommended by the Senate is $171 million more than the budget request and $583 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the U.S. portion of the S. Lawrence Seaway between Montreal and Lake Erie.  S.1789 would provide $17.4 million for the Seaway, which is equal to the budget request and $371,000 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

Maritime Administration

The Maritime Administration has the responsibility to support the national security and economic needs of the U.S. maritime industry.  The Maritime Administration is expressly charged with guarantying the smooth flow of military cargo through commercial ports, assuring Department of Defense access to commercial and strategic sealift and associated intermodal capacity, and training of merchant marine officers who are dually capable of serving defense and commercial transportation needs.

S.1789 would allocate a total of $156 million for the Maritime Security Program, which is consistent with the authorized level of spending and $1.56 million more than both the Fiscal Year 2007 and the budget request.

The bill would also distribute:

  • $122.9 million for Operations and Training at the Maritime Administration.  This would be $11.4 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level and $7.6 more than the budget request.
  • $18 million for the Maritime Administration to dispose of obsolete ships. This amount is $2.7 million less than the Fiscal Year 2007 level and $2 million less than the budget request.  The decrease in funding is in recognition that a large amount of carry over funding is available for continued activities.  The disposal of obsolete ships is important because they can include hazardous substances such as asbestos.
  • $20 million for assistance to small shipyards and maritime communities to improve the ability of domestic shipyards to compete for domestic and international commercial ship construction.
  • $13.4 million for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan Title XI shipbuilding program.  This program is important because it enables the owners of eligible vessels and shipyards to obtain long-term financing on terms and conditions that might not otherwise be available that can bolster local ship building communities that stimulate around five dollars for each dollar of credit subsidy expended.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) was established as part of the DOT on November 30, 2004, pursuant to the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act (P.L. 108-246).  PHMSA is responsible for the Department’s pipeline safety program as well as oversight of hazardous materials transportation safety operations.  The PHMSA is important because it is responsible for overseeing over 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States, promote the safe, reliable and reliable sound transportation of natural gas and hazardous liquids by pipelines.

The funding for the PHMSA is broken down as follows:

·        $18.1 million for administrative expenses at the PHMSA.  This funding is the same as the budget request and $98,791 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level.

·        $27 million for hazardous materials safety, of which $1.8 million shall remain available until September 30, 2009. These funds are the same as the budget request and $280,113 more than the FY 2007 funding level.

·        $82.4 million for the Office of Pipeline Safety.  This amount is $7.5 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level and $7.8 million more than the budget request.  The increase in funding would largely be used to increase inspections and enforcement workers at the Office of Pipeline Safety.

·        $28.5 million for emergency preparedness grants, as authorized by the Hazardness Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990. The recommended level for emergency preparedness grants support training of first responders and planning for communities to allow them to appropriately respond to hazardous materials incidents.

·        $12 million for the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration for fiscal.  The amount provided is $4.2 million more then the Fiscal Year 2007 level and equal to the budget request.

Research and Innovative Technologies Administration (RITA)

The mission of RITA is to focus on the DOT’s multi-modal and inter-modal research efforts, while coordinating the multi-faceted research agenda of the department.  S.1789 would provide $12 million for RITA, which is $4.2 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level and equal the budget request. 

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics compiles, analyzes, and makes accessible information on the Nation’s transportation systems; collects information on intermodal transportation and other areas as needed; and enhances the quality and effectiveness of the statistical programs of the DOT through research, the development of guidelines, and the promotion of improvements in data acquisition and use. 

S.1789 would make available $27 million for the Bureau which is equal to the budget request and $561,537 less than Fiscal Year 2007 level.

Department of Transportation Inspector General

The Inspector General Act of 1978 established the Office of Inspector General and S.1789 would allocate $66.4 million for activities within the Office of Inspector General, which is $2.4 million more than the FY 2007 enacted level and the same as the budget request.

Surface Transportation Board

The Surface Transportation Board (STB), which was created by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act on January 1, 1996, is responsible for the regulation of the rail and pipeline industries and certain non-licensing regulation of motor carriers and water carriers.  S.1789 would appropriate $25 million for the STB.  The level of funding is $1.9 million more than the budget request and $1.3 million less than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development

S.1789 would provide $38.74 billion in total budgetary resources for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is $3.15 billion above President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $2.12 billion above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

S.1789 would include funding for the following major activities and programs of HUD:

·        Tenant-based Rental Assistance;        

·        Project-based Rental Assistance;

·        HOPE VI;

·        Native American Housing Block Grants;

·        Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA);

·        Community Development Block Grants;

·        Rural Housing and Economic Development;

·        Homeless Assistance Grants;

·        Housing for the elderly;

·        Housing for the disabled;

·        Federal Housing Administration;

·        Office of Lead Control; and

·        Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Public and Indian Housing

In total, S.1789 would provide $30.06 billion for the public and Indian housing account, which is $1.7 billion above President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $1.12 billion above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Tenant-based rental assistance. This account provides funding for the Section 8 tenant-based voucher program, including funding for voucher renewals, tenant protection vouchers, Family Self-Sufficiency coordinators, the Family Unification Program, and the Veterans Affairs Supported Housing Program.  S.1789 would provide $16.6 billion in total for this account, including $4.2 billion in advance appropriations to be made available on October 1, 2008.  This amount is $605.7 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $671.7 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Section 8 is one of the principal appropriations for federal housing assistance and provides rental housing assistance to over two million low-income families.  Vouchers are administered at the local level through quasi-governmental Public Housing Authorities (PHAs).  The bulk of the account’s funding would go toward Section 8 voucher renewals — $14.93 billion, which is $498.7 million above the FY 2008 budget request and $493 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 level.  Other S.1789 appropriations for this account include:

·        $150 million (equal to the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 request and $700,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level) for tenant protection assistance vouchers aimed at covering low-income families who are displaced from public housing through no fault of their own, who are in the witness protection program, who are in the child welfare system, etc;

·        $50 million ($2 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $2.5 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 level) for Family Self-Sufficiency coordinators, who help Section 8 voucher participants receive job training and employment that could lead to a decreased dependency on public assistance programs;

·        $30 million for the Family Unification Program, a new incremental voucher program not request by the President, for families separated due to a lack of adequate housing and youth 18 to 21 years old who are transitioning from foster care; and

·        $75 million for the Veterans Affairs Supported Housing Program, also a new incremental voucher program not requested by President Bush, which would be funded jointly with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide Section 8 vouchers to homeless veterans. 

Project-based rental assistance. Section 8 project-based rental assistance provides a rental subsidy to a private landlord tied to a specific housing unit with housing for eligible low-income families, as opposed to a voucher which allows a recipient to seek a unit.  Amounts in this account include funding for the renewal of expiring project-based contracts, including Section 8, moderate rehabilitation, and single-room occupancy housing.  S.1789 would provide $5.81 billion for this account, which is equal to the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $163.42 million below the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Public Housing Capital-Fund.  This account provides funding for modernization and capital needs of PHAs (except Indian Housing Authorities), including management improvements, resident relocation, and homeownership activities. S.1789 would provide $2.5 billion for the fund, which is $476 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request $61.04 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

Public Housing Operating Fund.  This account provides funding for the operating expenses of approximately 3,100 PHAs (except Indian housing authorities) with some 1.2 million units under management.  S.1789 would provide $4.2 billion for the fund, which is $200 million above the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $336 million above the FY 2007 enacted level.

Hope VI.  This account, also known as the "revitalization of severely distressed public housing" account, makes awards to public housing authorities on a competitive basis to demolish obsolete or failed developments or to revitalize sites upon which these developments exist.  S.1789 would provide $100 million for the Hope VI account, which is $99 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $1 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Native American Housing Block Grant.  This program provides an allocation of funds on a formula basis to Indian tribes and their tribally-designated housing entities to help them address the housing needs within their communities.  S.1789 would provide $630 million for this program, which is $3.03 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $6.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant. This program provides grants to State of Hawaiian Home Lands for housing and housing related assistance to development, maintain, and operate affordable housing for low-income Native Hawaiian families.  S.1789 would provide $9 million, which is $3.1 million above the FY 2008 budget request and more than $273,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund.  This program provides access to private financing for Indian families, Indian tribes and their tribally designated housing entities who otherwise could not acquire housing financing because of the unique status of Indian trust land.  S.1789 would provide $7.4 million in subsidies to support a loan guarantee level of $367 million, which is equal to the President’s FY 2008 budget request and $1.45 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund. This program provides access to private financing for Native Hawaiians who otherwise could not acquire housing financing because of the unique status of the Hawaiians Home Lands as trust land. S.1789 would provide $1.04 million in program subsidies to support a loan guarantee level of $41.5 million, which is equal to the President’s budget request and $153,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Community Planning and Development

In total, S.1789 would provide $8.11 billion for the community planning and development account, which is $1.16 billion above President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $777.7 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Housing opportunities for persons with AIDS (HOPWA).  This program is designed to provide states and localities with resources and incentives to devise long-term comprehensive strategies for meeting the housing needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. S.1789 would provide $300.1 million for this program, which is equal to the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $14 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development.  This office was established to ensure that the Department has a comprehensive approach to rural housing and rural economic development issues.  While the President requested no funding for this program in his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request, S.1789 would provide $17 million for the office, which is $170,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Community Development Fund.  This program, also known as CDBG, provides block grants to state and local governments for the funding of local community development programs.  A wide range of physical, economic, and social development activities are eligible — with spending priorities determined at the local level.  S.1789 would provide $4.1 billion for this fund, which is $1.02 billion above the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $288.1 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  Though the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposal requested no funds for the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) and the Neighborhood Initiative (NI), S.1789 would also include $248 million in funding for EDI and $40 million in funding for NI in the CDBG account. 

Community Development Loan Guarantees.  This account, also known as the Section 108 Loan Guarantees, is used to issue federal loan guarantees of private market loans used by entitlement and non-entitlement communities to cover the costs of acquiring real property, rehabilitation of publicly owned real property, housing rehabilitation, and other economic development activities. Though the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposal requested no funds for this account, S.1789 would provide $6 million for credit subsidy costs to guarantee $275 million in loan commitments in Fiscal Year 2008, which is $3.03 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Brownfields Redevelopment.  This program provides competitive economic development grants to cities for the redevelopment of abandoned, idled, and underused industrial and commercial facilities where development is hindered by real or potential environmental contamination. While the President requested no funding for this program in his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request, S.1789 would provide $10 million for this program, which is $100,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program.  This program provides assistance to state and local governments for the purpose of expanding the supply and affordability of housing to low- and very low-income people.  S.1789 would provide $2 billion for this program, which is $3.36 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $212.8 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  This account also includes $150 million for Housing Counseling Assistance, which is $100 million above the FY 2008 budget request.  NOTE: the President requested that Housing Counseling Assistance be funded in a separate account; both the full House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations committee rejected this request but both increased funding for the program. 

Homeless assistance grants. This program provides funding to break the cycle of homelessness and to move homeless persons and families into permanent housing by providing rental assistance, emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, and supportive services to homeless persons and families. S.1789 would provide $1.6 billion for this program, which is equal to the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 request and $144.4 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  

Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP).  This program assists low-income homebuyers who are willing to contribute to the building of their houses.  S.1789 would provide $70 million for this program, which is $300,000 above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $20.61 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Housing Programs

In total, S.1789 would provide $1.35 billion for the housing programs account, which is $577 million above President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $357.3 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Housing for the elderly.  This account provides funding for HUD to provide capital grants under Section 202 to eligible entities for the acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of housing for low-income seniors. S.1789 would provide $735 million for this program, which is $160 million above the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $420,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Housing for persons with disabilities.  This account provides funding for HUD to provide capital grants under section 811 to eligible entities for the acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of housing for persons with disabilities. S.1789 would provide $237 million for this program, which is $112 million above the President’s budget request and $390,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund.  This fund covers the costs of administering the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act. S.1789 would provide $16 million to support to support the manufactured housing standards programs to be derived from fees collected and deposited in the Fund account. This amount is equal to the budget request and $3 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Rental housing assistance.  This account provides amendment funding for housing assisted under a variety of HUD housing programs. S.1789 would provide $27.6 million for HUD-assisted, State-aided, non-insured rental housing projects. This allocation is equal to the President’s FY 2008 request and $1.5 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  This administration offers mortgage insurance programs to insure lenders against loss from loan defaults by borrowers, which increases the likelihood that lenders will make loans.  

In total, S.1789 would provide $80.9 million for administrative and salaries and expenses costs for the FHA account, which is $597.54 million below the President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $151.3 million below the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The bulk of the funding reduction in this account, however, relates to how S.1789 reorganizes funding for HUD salary and expense costs.  The bill would provide 28 new salary and expense accounts — fully funded at the President’s requested level — within various HUD mission areas.  Previously, FHA costs were transferred to one central HUD salary and expense account. 

FHA insurance programs are administered through two accounts:

·        Mutual Mortgage Insurance Program. S.1789 would honor the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and maintain the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level by providing for a limitation on direct loans of $50 million and a limitation on guaranteed loans of $185 billion.  Though the budget request proposed $351.5 million for administrative expenses and Congress appropriated $351.5 million for these expenses in Fiscal Year 2007, S.1789 would not provide new funds for administrative expenses.  The bill, however, would provide $77.4 million for administrative contract expenses, which is equal to the Fiscal Year 2008 request and $15.42 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level; and

·        General and Special Risk Program. S.1789 would provide for a limitation on direct loans of $50 million, which is equal to the Fiscal Year 2008 request and FY 2007 enacted level, and a limitation on guaranteed loans of $45 billion, which is $10 billion above the budget request.  Though the budget request proposed $229.1 million for administrative expenses and Congress appropriated $229.1 million for these expenses in Fiscal Year 2007, S.1789 would not provide new funds for administrative expenses.  The bill, however, would provide $78.11 million in non-overhead administrative expenses, which is equal to the Fiscal Year 2008 request and $6.93 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level. 

Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA).  This association, also known as Ginnie Mae, guarantees privately issued securities backed by mortgages insured or guaranteed by FHA, the VA, or the Rural Housing Service. GNMA is a wholly-owned corporate instrumentality of the United States.  S.1789 would provide a limitation on new commitments of mortgage-backed securities of $200 billion, which $100 billion above the budget request and equal the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  Though the budget request proposed $11 million for administrative expenses and this bill would provide $9.5 million within a separate salary and expense account for GNMA. 

Research and technology program within the Office of Policy Development and Research.  This program funds industry, non-profit research organizations, educational institutions, and state and local governments and other federal agencies to seek ways to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of HUD programs and to identify methods to achieve cost reductions. S.1789 would provide $59.04 million for these activities, which is $6 million less than the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $9 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Fair Housing activities within the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity account.  The fair housing activities appropriation includes funding for the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP), which provides prompt processing of title VIII complaints, and the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), which is designed to alleviate housing discrimination by increasing support to public and private organizations.  S.1789 would provide $52 million for fair housing activities, of which $27 million is for FHAP and $25 million is for FHIP. The total amount for fair housing activities is $7 million above the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $6.5 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Office of Lead Hazard Control.  This Office makes grants to state and local governments to conduct lead-based paint hazard reduction and abatement activities in private low-income housing. S.1789 would provide $151 million for lead hazard reduction activities, which is $35 millionabove the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $520,000 above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level for these activities.

Office of Inspector General (OIG). S.1789 would provide $112 million for the OIG, which is $23.8 million above the President Bush’s budget request and $30.15 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.  This office regulates the financial safety and soundness of the two government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.  S.1789 would provide $66 million for this office, which is the same as the Fiscal Year 2008 budget request and $6 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

Title III: Independent Agencies

Title III of S.1789 would distribute funds to the following independent agencies:

·        $6.15 million to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to continue their work to issue guidelines that ensure that buildings and facilities, transportation vehicles, and telecommunications equipment covered by these laws are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. The budgetary allowance recommended S.1789 is identical to the amount requested by the administration and $235,000 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level.

·        $22.3 million for the Federal Maritime Commission to regulate the international waterborne commerce of the  United States.  In addition, the FMC has responsibility for licensing and bonding ocean transportation intermediaries and assuring that vessel owners or operators establish financial responsibility to pay judgments for death or injury to passengers, or nonperformance of a cruise, on voyages from U.S. ports.  The funding level is the same as the budget request and $1.89 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.

·        $84.5 million for the National Transportation Safety Board to continue their efforts to investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States as well as significant accidents in the other modes of transportation–railroad, highway, marine and pipeline–and issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.  The level of funding advocated is $1.5 million more than the budget request and $5.16 million more than the Fiscal Year 2007 enacted level.  The Committee has included $1.5 million more than the budget request to allow the agency to hire an additional 11 investigative staff.

·        $119.8 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation for helps local communities to establish efficient and effective partnerships between residents and representatives of the public and private sectors. These partnership-based organizations are independent, tax-exempt, nonprofit entities and are frequently known as Neighborhood Housing Services [NHS] or mutual housing associations.  The funding level is the same as the budget request and $2.98 million above the Fiscal Year 2007 level.

·        $2.3 million for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness works to review Federal programs that assist homeless persons and to take necessary actions to reduce duplication.  The spending amount is $512,029 more than the Fiscal Year 2007 level and $20,000 less than the budget request.

Title IV: General Provisions

Title IV of S.1789 contains a series of provisions which would improve fiscal accountability and protect employees who return to civilian jobs after service in the Armed Forces.  The provisions are:

·        Section 401, requires pay raises to be absorbed within appropriated levels in this Act or previous appropriations Acts.

·        Section 402 prohibits pay and other expenses for non-federal parties in regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings funded in this Act.

·        Section 403 prohibits obligations beyond the current fiscal year and prohibits transfers of funds unless expressly so provided herein.

·        Section 404 limits expenditures for consulting service through procurement contracts where such expenditures are a matter of public record and available for public inspection.

·        Section 405 authorizes the reprogramming of funds and specifies the reprogramming procedures for agencies funded by this Act.

·        Section 406 ensures that 50 percent of unobligated balances may remain available for certain purposes.

·        Section 407 requires departments and agencies under this act to report information regarding all sole source contracts.

·        Section 408 prohibits the use of funds for employee training unless such training bears directly upon the performance of official duties.

·        Section 409 continues the provision prohibiting the use of funds for eminent domain unless such taking is employed for public use.

·        Section 410 prohibits funds in this act to be transferred without express authority.

·        Section 411 protects employment rights of federal employees who return to their civilian jobs after assignment with the Armed Forces.

·        Section 412 prohibits the use of funds for activities not in compliance with the Buy American Act.

·        Section 413 prohibits funding for any person or entity convicted of violating the Buy American Act.

Legislative History

On July 16, 2007, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported S.1789, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008, and the bill was placed on the Senate calendar.  On July 24, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R.3074, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2008 on a 268-153 vote, which was also placed on the Senate calendar. 

The Senate is expected to bring H.R.3074 to the floor the week of September 10. 

Expected Amendments

It is anticipated that a substitute amendment will be offered to replace the text of H.R.3074 with that of S.1789

Senator Murray is expected to offer an amendment that will increase the appropriation for bridge repair and rehabilitation by approximately $1 billion. 

Additional amendments are, however, expected.  As information is made available, this Legislative Bulletin will be updated and/or legislative staff will be notified of amendments.

Statement of Administration Policy

As of this writing, the Bush Administration has not issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) for S.1789.   On July 23, the Administration did, however, issue a SAP in opposition to H.R.3074.  The President has threatened to veto the House appropriations bill because it exceeds his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request.  The Senate bill also exceeds the budget request, and, if passed, it is anticipated that the President would veto the bill. 

CRS Reports

CRS, RL34046 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD): FY2008 Appropriations, Updated August 31, 2007.

CRS, RL34022 — The Department of Housing and Urban Development: FY2008 Appropriations, July 26, 2007.

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