The 2018 mid-term elections gave both Democrats and Republicans something to like. The former now have control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010, while the latter have expanded – albeit slightly – their control of the Senate. How might this outcome affect HUD over the last two years of the Trump Administration?
We polled the non-partisan, and sometimes non-political, prognosticators at SMF for their take on the mid-terms. They believe that divided government should mean business as usual at HUD through 2020. The increased number of Republicans in the Senate will likely help the President with cabinet and other appointments that require Senate confirmation, so any changes in the senior leadership at HUD that might occur over the next two years should proceed smoothly. Moreover, there will be no change in the Chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, held by Mike Crapo of Idaho.
There could be a lot more action in the House of Representatives. Potential investigations of the President might make media headlines and keep cable television commentators charged, but it also would likely keep HUD out of the spotlight. The incoming Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters of California, is replacing the retiring Jed Hensarling of Texas, who has openly questioned the Federal government’s role in providing mortgage insurance. Jed is not the only Republican member of the House who thinks this way, so with his party in the minority come January, we are likely to hear less of this sentiment from the new Congress. While we may see more policy proposals friendly to the development of affordable housing and supportive of HUD’s mortgage insurance programs coming out of the House over the next two years, a divided Congress is likely to keep such proposals from moving forward.
Before the new 116th Congress takes office on January 3, 2019, the current lame-duck Congress still has work to do. Perhaps its most pressing task is to pass – and have the President sign – another budgetary Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep open a number of Federal agencies, including HUD, beyond December 7. The President has threatened to veto a CR unless it includes funding for construction of a border wall with Mexico, a controversial proposal, even among Republicans. Stay tuned, as we have not heard the end from the 115th Congress – and the President!
For additional information, please contact Anthony Luzzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.