President Biden signed a long-awaited spending deal into law Tuesday afternoon at a White House ceremony attended by Vice President Kamala Harris and dozens of members of Congress.
The $1.5 trillion bipartisan bill funds the government through the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and contains many NAR advocacy priorities, including flood insurance, affordable housing, and transportation.
“This bill is significant for President Biden because the U.S. has been operating under continuing resolutions that funded the government based on spending levels set by the previous administration and Congress,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer for NAR. “It is the president’s first big spending deal that will guide his priorities in the coming years.”
“Annual spending bills are the bread and butter of our advocacy operation,” McGahn continues. “This measure contains all 12 appropriations bills that fund the government rolled into one package. We work throughout the year to ensure provisions important to the housing sector get the attention they deserve during this process.”
NAR’s policy team analyzed the 2,700-page bill, offering a summary of provisions critical to the real estate sector, which supports nearly 20% of the entire economy. Highlights:
- Flood insurance: Extends the NFIP through Sept. 30 and provides significant funding for communities to respond to and mitigate the impacts of future disasters, with $276 million for flood mapping.
- Broadband: Includes more than $550 million to expand rural broadband services on top of broadband funding included in the American Rescue Plan and bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.
- Fair housing: Contains $85 million for fair housing activities, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, Fair Housing Assistance Program, and the National Fair Housing Training Academy. This level represents an increase of $12.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
- Violence Against Women Act: Reauthorizes this legislation and establishes the Violence Prevention Office at HUD. NAR was part of the original group of housing industry supporters that helped craft the housing provisions of the bill.
- Transportation & Infrastructure: Provides the remaining funding to implement programs and spending in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which was passed in November. Provides more than $10 billion to upgrade the nation’s water infrastructure.
Among other things, the package also revives the EB-5 Visa Regional Center Program, increases funding to combat money laundering, and supports Small Business Administration efforts to help underserved entrepreneurs.