Senate Passes $182 Billion Spending Bill, Includes Housing Counseling Funds

The U.S. Senate today passed a $182 billion spending bill for fiscal year 2012 that reflects a bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in September. The minibus passed today comprises spending bills for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and includes the restoration of funding for housing counseling programs under HUD.

The bill was approved through a 69 to 30 majority vote, and includes $60 million for housing counseling assistance through September 30, 2012. The approval of the minibus marks the final passage in Senate before both the House and Senate bills are reconciled in conference.

“America’s seniors, looking to capitalize on their equity wealth to maintain their financial independence will still have access to consumer protections like housing counseling if this bill becomes law,” said H. West Richards, executive director of the Coalition for Independent Seniors (CIS). “There is still work to do to preserve these important consumer protections.”

A House appropriations bill approved in September zeroed out housing counseling funds, including counseling funds for the HECM program. That bill has yet to move forward to the full House Committee.

The Senate and the House will reconcile the differences between the appropriations legislation in conference. That could happen as early as this week, and is expected to happen within the next two weeks.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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