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Capitol Express - November 16, 2011

Capitol Express

Congressional and Administration News

Super Committee Approaches Nov. 23 Deadline

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee) is charged to deliver a bipartisan plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years by Nov. 23. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) must receive the Super Committee’s final deficit reduction proposal in time to provide a cost estimate by Nov. 21, giving Super Committee members two days to review final legislative language. If the committee is able to approve a package by Nov. 23, Congress will have until Dec. 23 to pass enacting legislation without consideration of amendments. In the instance that either the Super Committee or Congress fail to deliver or enact a 10-year, $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package, across-the-board spending reductions will be made to national defense and domestic discretionary programs. Some entitlement programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are exempt from mandatory sequestration. No HUD programs would be exempt.

New Commission to Explore Options for Reforming National Housing Policy

On Oct. 26, the Bipartisan Policy Center launched a commission to draft targeted policy recommendations based on its assessment of the nation’s current and future housing needs, and advocate on behalf of those recommendations. The Housing Commission, co-chaired by former HUD Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez and former U.S. Sens. Kit Bond and George Mitchell, will examine housing finance and secondary mortgage market reform, among other housing issues. Read more information on the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission’s blog.

Federal Register and Funding Opportunity Update

Hearings and Events

Witnesses Brief Super Committee on Past Debt Reduction Proposals

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, as well as the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force co-chairs Pete Domenici and Dr. Alice Rivlin, testified during the Nov. 1 Super Committee hearing titled Overview of Previous Debt Proposals. Each witness urged the Super Committee to deliver a $4 trillion deficit-reduction package over 10 years; currently the committee is tasked with delivering a 10-year, $1.2 trillion deal. To realize the additional savings, witnesses promoted a “grand bargain” of spending cuts (including major entitlement reform), and revenue increases through tax reform.

Hearing Held on HOME Program Fraud

On Nov. 2, the House Financial Services Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations and Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity held a joint hearing titled Fraud in the HUD HOME Program. The first panel was composed of two individuals convicted of defrauding organizations that received HUD funding. Witnesses on the second panel included HUD officials and National Housing Conference Vice President for Policy and Advocacy Ethan Handelman. Most of the panelists acknowledged that HUD’s oversight of the HOME program could be improved, but also noted the importance of the program in meeting the critical nationwide need for affordable housing. Later that week, HUD announced the release of a proposed rule which will strengthen oversight of the HOME program. For more information, please read the Nov. 4 HUD press release.

Congressional Hearing Update

Housing Finance and Regulatory Reform

Tax Reform and Deficit Reduction


Upcoming Events

Research and Reports

Housing and Community Development Research and Analysis Released