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Congress passes spending bills to avoid shutdown, adds to Ginnie Mae budget

Lawmakers passed yet another stopgap spending measure that includes funding for housing programs, including more for Ginnie Mae

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a series of six spending bills that will avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government while adding some additional budget capacity to Ginnie Mae.

Colloquially called a “minibus,” the six spending packages passed overwhelmingly in the narrowly divided House with a vote of 339-85, with 207 Democrats and 132 Republicans supporting the package. It allocates $450 billion in funding for several departments, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Other departments benefiting from the allocation include Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as agriculture, interior, transportation, justice, commerce and energy, according to reporting from The Hill.

Ginnie Mae will receive additional funding above levels seen in fiscal year 2023, with $54 million this year compared to the $40 million received last year.

The government-owned company has been sounding the alarm over the past year about a need for additional authority from Congress. This includes a strain on resources brought about by the assumption of a sizable portfolio of reverse mortgage-backed securities following the bankruptcy of a major lender in the space in 2022.

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President and CEO Bob Broeksmit lauded the development in a statement released soon after the vote took place. 

“We especially support the government spending to boost homeownership opportunities and affordable rental housing,” Broeksmit said. “This includes a much-needed increase in funding for Ginnie Mae salaries and expenses, dedicated funding for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) IT modernization, backing for homeownership counseling, requiring HUD to take actions to increase FHA multifamily lending for new construction and rehabilitation, and $100 million in grants to encourage localities to remove legal and regulatory barriers that impede housing development.”

MBA also agrees with language from the VA regarding “the need to provide timely payment relief to distressed Veteran homeowners.” The trade group also says it will “continue to call on Congress to authorize and fund a permanent partial claim program.”

Broeksmit and the MBA encouraged the U.S. Senate to pass the bill in its own chamber prior to the March 8 deadline for avoiding a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has indicated that the body will take up the measure and pass it prior to the deadline, The Hill reported.

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