Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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House receded and concurred with amendment (12/07/1995)


Title I: Department of Veterans Affairs

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Title III: Independent Agencies

Title IV: Corporations

Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 - Title I: Department of Veterans Affairs - Makes appropriations for FY 1996 to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Provides for the use of such appropriations.

(Sec. 107) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reimburse the general operating account of the Department, for certain administrative costs, from the National Service, Veterans' Special, and U.S. Government Life Insurance Funds.

(Sec. 108) Authorizes the Secretary to transfer jurisdiction and control of certain land in Wichita, Kansas, to the Secretary of Transportation.

Title II: Department of Housing and Urban Development - Makes appropriations for FY 1996 to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Provides for the use of such appropriations.

(Sec. 201) Amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 (USHA), as amended by the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Additional Disaster Assistance, for Anti-terrorism Initiatives, for Assistance in the Recovery from the Tragedy that Occurred at Oklahoma City, and Rescissions Act, 1995, to authorize public housing agencies to provide modernization assistance to mixed-income developments.

(Sec. 202) Revises USHA provisions relating to public and assisted housing rents, income adjustments, and preferences. Sets minimum rents between $25 and $50 per month, at the discretion of public housing agencies (PHAs). Allows PHAs to set ceiling rents which reflect the market value of similar housing in the area and cover monthly operating costs. Permits PHAs to make adjustments to income in determining the rents to be paid by tenants. Revises the basis of fair market rentals established for the Section 8 program. Eliminates Federal preferences rules for occupancy in the section 8 housing and rent supplement programs, and allows local preference rules to be applied.

(Sec. 203) Provides for conversion of certain public housing to vouchers.

Requires each PHA to: (1) identify any distressed public housing developments that meet specified criteria; and (2) develop and carry out a plan in conjunction with the Secretary for their removal from the PHA inventory and the annual contributions contract, over a period of up to five years (with possible extensions for up to another five years in certain circumstances).

Directs the Secretary to make authority available to a PHA to provide section 8 tenant-based assistance to families residing in any development that is removed from the PHA inventory and the annual contributions contract.

Requires each conversion plan to require the PHA to notify and counsel families residing in such a development, and ensure that they are offered tenant-based or project-based assistance and relocated, as necessary, to other decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing which is, to the maximum extent practicable, housing of their choice.

(Sec. 204) Repeals a "take one-take all" requirement under USHA that a housing owner who accepts a Section 8 voucher holder as a tenant must accept all others. Exempts housing unit owners participating in the certificate and voucher programs from certain notice requirements relating to rent increases or termination of their assistance payment contracts with a PHA. Limits certain requirements to the duration of a lease.

(Sec. 205) Directs the Secretary to establish section 8 fair market rentals for FY 1996 based on the 40th percentile rent of rental distributions of standard quality rental housing units, considering only the rents for dwelling units occupied by recent movers and not the rents for public housing dwelling units or newly constructed rental dwelling units.

Declares that the administrative fee for each month of FY 1996 for which a dwelling unit is covered by an assistance contract under the section 8 certificate, voucher, or moderate rehabilitation program shall be equal to the monthly fee payable for FY 1995.

Requires PHAs administering section 8 certificate or voucher assistance to delay for three months the use of any amounts of such assistance (or the certificate or voucher representing assistance amounts) made available by the termination during FY 1996 of such assistance on behalf of any family for any reason, with the exception of any certificates assigned or committed to project-based assistance.

(Sec. 206) Directs the Secretary to conduct a demonstration program under which up to 30 selected PHAs (including Indian housing authorities) may administer the public or Indian housing program and the section 8 housing assistance payments program (for a total number of public housing units up to 25,000) in ways which are designed to reduce costs and achieve greater cost-effectiveness in Federal expenditures, provide incentives for heads of households to become economically self-sufficient, and increase housing choices for lower- income families.

(Sec. 207) Repeals the maximum annual limitation on rent increases resulting from employment under the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act and the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (HCDA).

(Sec. 208) Amends the Multifamily Housing Finance Improvement Act, under HCDA, to extend the risk-sharing and housing finance agency pilot demonstration programs but reduce the number of units involved in such programs during FY 1996.

(Sec. 209) Authorizes the Secretary of HUD to delegate, during FY 1996, to one or more entities the authority to carry out some or all of the Secretary's responsibilities and functions in connection with the foreclosure of HUD-held mortgages under the National Housing Act (NHA).

(Sec. 210) Authorizes the Secretary, during FY 1996, to sell or otherwise transfer multifamily mortgages held by the Secretary under the National Housing Act to State housing finance agencies, in connection with the risk-sharing or the housing finance agency pilot demonstration program under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, without regard to certain unit limitations.

(Sec. 211) Amends section 8 of the USHA to provide for transfer of budget authority. Directs the Secretary, if a section 8 assistance contract, other than a contract for tenant-based assistance, is terminated, not renewed, or expires, to transfer any budget authority remaining in that contract to another contract, in order to provide continued assistance to eligible families, including those receiving the benefit of the project-based assistance at the time of the termination.

(Sec. 212) Makes certain amendments (made by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1995) relating to documentation of multifamily refinancings under the National Housing Act effective during FY 1996 and thereafter.

(Sec. 213) Directs the Secretary, in FY 1996 and 1997, to initiate a demonstration program with respect to multifamily projects: (1) whose owners agree to participate; (2) whose mortgages are insured under the NHA and assisted under section 8 of the USHA; and (3) whose present section 8 rents are, in the aggregate, exceed the fair market rent of the locality in which the project is located. Requires these programs to be designed to test the feasibility and desirability of the goal of ensuring, to the maximum extent practicable, that the debt service and operating expenses, including adequate reserves, attributable to such multifamily projects can be supported with or without mortgage insurance under the NHA and with or without above-market rents and utilizing project-based assistance or, with the consent of the property owner, tenant-based assistance, while taking into account the need for assistance of low- and very low-income families in such projects. Authorizes the Secretary to use arrangements with third parties, under which the Secretary may provide for their assumption of some or all of the Secretary's functions, obligations, and benefits. Sets forth goals and demonstration approaches for such programs.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) manage and dispose of multifamily properties and multifamily mortgages for properties assisted under section 8 with rents above 110 percent of fair market rents; and (2) delegate to one or more entities the authority to carry out some or all of the Secretary's functions and responsibilities in connection with the foreclosure of mortgages held under the NHA.

Authorizes the Secretary, subject to the consent of specified parties, to: (1) remove, relinquish, extinguish, modify, or agree to the removal of any mortgage, regulatory agreement, project-based assistance contract, use agreement, or restriction that had been imposed or required by the Secretary, including restrictions on distributions of income which would interfere with the ability of the project to operate without above market rents; (2) require an owner of a property assisted under the section 8 new construction-substantial rehabilitation program to apply any accumulated residual receipts toward effecting program purposes; (3) enter into contracts to purchase reinsurance, or enter into participations or otherwise transfer economic interest in contracts of insurance or in the premiums paid, or due to be paid, on such insurance to third parties; (4) offer project-based assistance with rents at or below fair market rents for the locality and negotiate other terms acceptable to the Secretary and the project owner; (5) offer to pay all or a portion of the project's debt service, including payments monthly from the appropriate Insurance Fund, for the full remaining term of the insured mortgage; (6) forgive and cancel any mortgage debt insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that a demonstration program property cannot carry at market rents while bearing full operating costs; and (7) for demonstration program properties that cannot carry full operating costs (excluding debt service) at market rents, approve project-based rents sufficient to carry such full operating costs (and offer to pay the full debt service in the specified manner).

Directs the Secretary to develop procedures to provide appropriate and timely notice to local government officials, the community, and the tenants of the project.

Limits such demonstration program authority with respect to mortgages to not more than 15,000 units. Prohibits the expansion of such demonstration until specified reports are submitted to the Congress.

Appropriates funds for the cost of modifying loans held or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

(Sec. 214) Authorizes the Secretary to use amounts available for the renewal of assistance under section 8 of USHA, upon termination or expiration of a section 8 assistance contract (other than one for tenant-based assistance), to provide section 8 assistance for the eligible families assisted under the contracts at termination or expiration. Directs the Secretary, at the request of the owner, to renew for one year at the current rent levels section 8 assistance contracts that expire or terminate during FY 1996. Authorizes the Secretary to extend expiring contracts for USHA section 8 project-based loan management assistance to the extent necessary to prevent displacement of low-income families receiving such assistance as of September 30, 1996.

Amends NHA with regard to the rental charge for each dwelling unit to state that the rental ceiling (representing 30 per cent of the tenant's adjusted income) may not exceed the lower of the fair market rental charge determined under NHA or that established under section 8 of USHA for the market area in which the housing is located.

(Sec. 215) Extends through FY 1996 the home equity conversion mortgage program under NHA. Increases from 25,000 to 30,000 the number of mortgages that may be insured under the program.

(Sec. 216) Revises assessment collection dates for the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, to replace the semiannual payment due dates from September 1 and March 1 with October 1 and April 1.

(Sec. 217) Requires all remaining obligated and unobligated balances in the Renewal of Expiring Section 8 Subsidy Contracts account on September 30, 1995, to be transferred to and merged with the obligated and unobligated balances, respectively, of the Annual Contributions for Assisted Housing account.

(Sec. 218) Directs the Secretary to cancel the indebtedness of the Hubbard Hospital Authority of Hubbard, Texas, of the Groveton Texas Hospital Authority, and of the Hepzibah Public Service District of Hepzibah, West Virginia, relating to specified public facilities loans under title II of the Housing Amendments of 1955.

(Sec. 219) Determines the Paul Mirabile Center, San Diego, California, to satisfy HUD continuum care requirements. Treats such Center as entirely residential rental property consisting solely of residential units used exclusively to facilitate the transition of homeless individuals to independent living within 24 months.

(Sec. 220) Limits to no more than seven Assistant Secretaries and 77 schedule C and 20 non-career senior executive service employees the number of such Assistant Secretaries and employees in HUD by the end of FY 1996.

(Sec. 221) Requires specified funds to be made available to: (1) the County of San Bernardino in California to assist with the expansion of the Los Padrinos Gang Intervention Program and the Unity Home Domestic Violence Shelter (from remaining funds made available to Bethlehem House in Highland, California, for site planning and loan acquisition); and (2) the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio, for the renovation and rehabilitation of an industrial building (from specified funds for removal of asbestos from an abandoned public school building in that city).

(Sec. 222) Amends the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 to revise eligibility criteria to determine which housing qualifies for lead-based paint abatement grants.

(Sec. 223) Amends USHA to repeal the six-year limitation on the extension period for Federal sharing of utility cost savings with PHAs under the program of annual contributions for operation of low-income housing.

(Sec. 223A) Amends NHA, with respect to the housing program for moderate income and displaced families, to extend through FY 1996 the period for mortgage note sales.

(Sec. 223B) Amends the Department of Housing and Urban Development--Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1988, to repeal the prohibition (Frost-Leland) against the use of funds for demolishing certain historic buildings in Dallas and Houston, Texas.

(Sec. 223C) Amends NHA to authorize the Secretary to assist mortgagors in default by: (1) paying insurance benefits to the mortgagee to recompense the mortgagee for certain actions to provide an alternative to foreclosure of a mortgage that is in default; (2) establishing, in lieu of the current program of temporary mortgage assistance payments and acquisition of mortgages to avoid foreclosure, an optional program for payment of a partial claim to a mortgagee that agrees to apply the claim amount to payment of a mortgage on a one- to four-family residence that is in default (if the mortgagor agrees to repay the amount of the insurance claim to the Secretary); and (3) establishing a program for assignment to the Secretary, under certain conditions and upon request of the mortgagee, of a mortgage on an insured one- to four-family residence.

(Sec. 223D) Prohibits the use of any funds in this Act: (1) by the Secretary to impose any sanction or penalty because of the enactment of any State or local law or regulation declaring English as the official language; or (2) for lobbying activities as prohibited by law.

(Sec. 223E) Transfers to the Department of Justice all HUD functions, activities, and responsibilities relating to title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, and the Fair Housing Act, including any rights guaranteed under the Fair Housing Act and any functions relating to the Fair Housing Initiatives program under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987, along with adequate personnel and resources allocated to any such activity.

(Sec. 224) Prohibits the use of any funds provided in this Act during FY 1996 to investigate or prosecute under the Fair Housing Act any otherwise lawful activity engaged in by one or more persons, including the filing or maintaining of non-frivolous legal action, that is engaged in solely for the purposes of achieving or preventing action by a Government official, entity, or court of competent jurisdiction.

(Sec. 225) Prohibits the use of any funds provided in this Act to take any enforcement action with respect to a complaint of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act on the basis of familial status and which involves an occupancy standard established by the housing provider, except to the extent that it is found that there has been discrimination in contravention of the standards provided a specified HUD Memorandum, or until such time that HUD issues a final rule.

(Sec. 226) Amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 with respect to the eligibility of housing reconstruction costs for expenditure of Community Development Block Grant funds.

Title III: Independent Agencies - Makes appropriations for FY 1996 to the: (1) American Battle Monuments Commission; (2) Consumer Product Safety Commission; (3) Court of Veterans Appeals; (4) Department of Defense-Civil for cemeterial expenses, Army; (5) Environmental Protection Agency; (6) Executive Office of the President for the Office of Science and Technology Policy; (7) Council on Environmental Quality and Office of Environmental Quality; (8) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); (9) General Services Administration for the Consumer Information Center; (10) National Aeronautics and Space Administration; (11) National Credit Union Administration for the obligations of the Central Liquidity Facility; (12) National Science Foundation; (13) Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; and (14) Selective Service System.

Makes appropriations for FY 1996 for necessary expenses for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to terminate all programs, activities, and initiatives under the National and Community Service Act of 1990, and to resolve all responsibilities and obligations in connection with the CNCS and its Office of Inspector General.

Authorizes exemption from categorical pretreatment standards under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, if specified conditions are met, of an industrial discharger that is a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility which discharged to the Kalamazoo Water Reclamation Plant (an advanced wastewater treatment plant with activated carbon) before enactment of this Act.

Requires the Director of FEMA to promulgate a methodology, based on specified criteria, for assessment and collection of fees applicable to persons subject to the FEMA radiological emergency preparedness regulations. Authorizes such fee assessment and collection only during FY 1996.

Directs NASA to convey, without reimbursement, to the State of Mississippi, all U.S. right, title and interest in the property known as the Yellow Creek Facility, near Iuka, Mississippi. Requires that specified appropriated funds be used for this conveyance and transition.

(Sec. 301) Prohibits EPA use of any funds provided in this Act to: (1) carry out any final action by the EPA Administrator or delegate for promulgation of a rule concerning any new standard for radon in drinking water; (2) sign, promulgate, implement or enforce a proposed regulation relating to individual foreign refinery baseline requirements for reformulated gasoline; (3) implement a provision of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (or any pending EPA action to implement such provision) for denial or restriction of the use of defined areas as disposal sites for dredged or fill material; or (4) implement specified requirements of the Clean Air Act with respect to any moderate nonattainment area in which the average daily winter temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Declares that this last prohibition does not preclude EPA assistance to the State of Alaska to make progress toward meeting the carbon monoxide standard in such areas and to resolve remaining issues regarding the use of oxygenated fuels in such areas.

Title IV: Corporations - Authorizes certain corporations and agencies of HUD to make commitments without regard to fiscal year limitations as necessary to carry out provisions under the Government Corporation Control Act. Allows any collections by such corporations and agencies to be used for new loan or mortgage purchase commitments to the extent provided under this Act, with specified exceptions.

Makes funds available for the Office of Inspector General of the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Title V: General Provisions - Specifies certain uses, limitations, and prohibitions on uses of funds appropriated by this Act.

(Sec. 514) Requires FY 1996 pay raises to be absorbed within the levels appropriated in this Act.

(Sec. 516) Expresses the sense of the Congress that, to the greatest extent practicable, all equipment and products purchased with funds made available under this Act should be American-made.

(Sec. 517) Prohibits the use of funds to implement any cap on reimbursements to grantees for indirect costs, except as published in a specified Office of Management and Budget Circular.

(Sec. 519) Requires the Director of FEMA to sell the disaster housing inventory of mobile homes and trailers, and deposit the proceeds in the Treasury.

(Sec. 520) Requires that funds necessary to terminate the Office of Consumer Affairs be made available from funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services for FY 1996.