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116th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {      116-196

======================================================================



 
                 KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER ACT OF 2019

                                _______
                                

 September 6, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Waters, from the Committee on Financial Services, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2763]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Financial Services, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2763) to prohibit the Secretary of Housing and 
Urban Development from implementing certain rules, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     2
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     3
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes and Roll Call Votes..............................     3
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     5
Statement of Performance Goals and Objectives....................     5
New Budget Authority and CBO Cost Estimate.......................     5
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     9
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................    10
Advisory Committee...............................................    10
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    10
Earmark Statement................................................    10
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    10
Changes to Existing Law..........................................    10

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Keeping Families Together Act of 
2019''.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION.

  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development may not implement, 
administer, enforce, or in any manner make effective the proposed rule 
entitled ``Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification 
of Eligible Status'', issued by the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development on May 10, 2019 (Docket No. FR-6124-P-01), or any final 
rule based substantially on such proposed rule.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    On May 15, 2019, Rep. Sylvia Garcia introduced H.R. 2763, 
the ``Keeping Families Together Act,'' which would prohibit the 
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 
implementing a proposed rule that would require every member of 
a household living in public housing or receiving Section 8 
project-based rental assistance or a Housing Choice Voucher to 
be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Under current law, only U.S. citizens and a subset of 
legally present noncitizens are eligible for federal housing 
assistance. Longstanding HUD policies allow families that have 
members with mixed immigration statuses to live under the same 
roof through prorated rental assistance calculations to ensure 
that only eligible family members receive rental assistance. 
For example, if a family consisting of two parents and one 
child receives a Housing Choice Voucher, but only one parent 
and the child are U.S. citizens while the second parent does 
not have eligible immigration status, the family of three's 
rent would be calculated to fully account for the incomes of 
both parents and then prorated to only provide subsidy for the 
two qualifying family members. As a result, the family would 
pay a higher rent than an otherwise identical family of three 
in which all members had eligible immigration status.
    On April 10, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive 
Order calling for agencies to ``adopt policies to ensure that 
only eligible persons receive benefits and enforce all relevant 
laws providing that aliens who are not otherwise qualified and 
eligible may not receive benefits.'' Despite existing HUD 
policies described above that ensure that individuals without 
eligible immigration status do not receive rental subsidies, on 
May 10, 2019, HUD released a proposed rule to require that 
every member of a household receiving public housing, Section 8 
project-based rental assistance or Housing Choice Vouchers be a 
U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. HUD's own Regulatory 
Impact Analysis acknowledges that implementation of the 
proposed rule would result in evictions, homelessness, and 
family separation primarily for U.S. citizens and eligible 
noncitizens. HUD also acknowledges that implementation of the 
proposed rule would result in increased costs for HUD, and 
without additional resources to offset those costs, HUD would 
have to serve less families overall and also reduce the quality 
of housing for existing residents.
    H.R. 2763 would prohibit HUD from implementing, 
administering, enforcing, or in any manner making effective 
this proposed rule, or any final rule based substantially on 
the proposed rule. Section 234 of the FY2020 Transportation, 
Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill includes 
similar language to block the administration's rule change.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section states that the title of the bill is the 
Keeping Families Together Act.

Section 2. Prohibition

    This section prohibits the Secretary of HUD from 
implementing, administering, enforcing, or in any manner making 
effective the proposed rule entitled ``Housing and Community 
Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status,'' 
issued by HUD on May 10, 2019 (Docket No. FR-6124-P-01), or any 
final rule based substantially on such proposed rule.

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 for the 
116th Congress, the Committee on Financial Services held a 
hearing to consider H.R. 2763 entitled, ``Housing in America: 
Oversight of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
Development'' on May 16, 2019. Testifying before the Committee 
was Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    The Committee on Financial Services met in open session on 
June 11, 2019 and ordered H.R. 2763 to be reported favorably to 
the House with an amendment in the nature of a substitute by a 
vote of 32 yeas and 26 nays, a quorum being present.

                  COMMITTEE VOTES AND ROLL CALL VOTES

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
following roll call votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 2763.

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

  STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the descriptive portions of this report.

             STATEMENT OF PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    Pursuant to clause (3)(c) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the goals of H.R. 2763 are to 
prohibit HUD from implementing, administering, enforcing, or in 
any manner making effective its proposed rule terminating 
housing benefits for families with mixed-immigration status, 
and resulting in evictions and family separations.

               NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CBO COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives and section 308(a) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, and pursuant to clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for 
H.R. 2763 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 20, 2019.
Hon. Maxine Waters,
Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Madam Chairwoman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2763, the Keeping 
Families Together Act of 2019.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Elizabeth 
Cove Delisle.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.


[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

    

    Bill summary: H.R. 2763 would prevent a proposed rule from 
taking effect; under current law that rule would require all 
members of a household to be eligible for housing assistance 
based on each member's citizenship or immigration status, and 
to submit documentation thereof, in order for the household to 
receive assistance.
    Estimated Federal cost: CBO estimates that implementing 
H.R. 2763 would cost $2.2 billion over the 2010-2024 period, 
assuming appropriations of the necessary amounts. The costs of 
the legislation fall within budget function 600 (income 
security).
    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted near the end of 2019 and that the 
estimated amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year 
beginning in 2020. Estimated outlays are based on historical 
patterns for existing and similar activities.
    CBO estimates that under current law implementing the 
proposed rule in full (Housing and Community Development Act of 
1980: Verification of Eligible Status) would reduce spending 
subject to appropriation by $4.4 billion over the 2019-2024 
period (see Table 1). Because that rule is proposed and not yet 
final, CBO assumes that there is a 50 percent chance that the 
rule will take effect; therefore, CBO estimates that by 
preventing the rule from going into effect, implementing H.R. 
2763 would cost about $2.2 billion over the 2019-2024 period, 
assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts (see Table 2).

   TABLE 1.--ESTIMATED EFFECT ON PROGRAM OUTLAYS UNDER CURRENT LAW IF THE PROPOSED RULE WERE FULLY IMPLEMENTED
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2019     2020     2021      2022       2023       2024    2019-2024
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Documentation Requirement................        0     -100     -582     -1,040     -1,062     -1,084     -3,868
Ineligible Households....................        0      -14      -81       -145       -148       -151       -539
Ineligible Members.......................        0        0        2          3          3          3         11
Administrative Costs.....................        0        1        1          4          3          3         12
                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Changes........................        0     -113     -660     -1,178     -1,204     -1,229      4,384
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                TABLE 2.--ESTIMATED CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 2763a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    By fiscal year, millions of dollars--
                                                            ----------------------------------------------------
                                                              2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   2024  2019-2024
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Changes:
    Estimated Authorization................................      0     57    330    589    602    615      2,192
    Estimated Outlays......................................      0     57    330    589    602    615      2,192
Details may not sum to totals because of rounding.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
aEstimate assumes a 50 percent probability that the proposed rule would be implemented under current law. Thus,
  the bill's costs equal 50 percent of the costs shown in Table 1.

    Background: H.R. 2763 would prevent the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from implementing the 
proposed rule entitled, ``Housing and Community Development Act 
of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status,'' which was published 
on May 10, 2019. That rule would require all members of a 
household participating in HUD's assisted housing programs to 
be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or to have eligible 
immigration status. Noncitizens who would be eligible include 
lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, some 
nonimmigrants who are temporarily admitted into the United 
States, and some aliens whose orders of removal are withheld.
    The rule also would require each member of a household to 
submit documentation of citizenship or immigration status to 
public housing authorities (PHAs) when the household applies 
for assistance. Households that are currently receiving 
assistance would be required to submit such documentation at 
the time of their annual income reexamination.
    CBO estimates the budgetary effects of legislation that 
affects spending subject to appropriation relative to current 
law; in addition CBO's estimate of the level of spending for 
the assisted housing programs under current law accounts for 50 
percent of the impact of the proposed rule. Thus, this estimate 
of preventing the rule from taking effect reflects 50 percent 
of the full estimated costs of preventing implementation.
    The proposed rule would allow PHAs to delay terminating a 
household's assistance for up to 18 months if that household is 
unable to find housing that is appropriately sized, relatively 
affordable, and not substandard. The extent to which households 
would request--and PHAs would grant--such delays depends on a 
variety of factors that are uncertain including the 
availability of alternative housing, the ability and 
willingness of households to move, and the timing of moves. 
Because CBO has no information on what the outcome of those 
decisions would be, CBO assumes that households whose 
assistance would end at the time of their annual reexamination 
and those that would be granted 6, 12, and 18-month delays are 
evenly distributed.
    Effect of implementing proposed rule: This section 
describes CBO's estimate of the cost to fully implement the 
proposed rule. CBO's estimate of the budgetary effect of H.R. 
2763 is based on 50 percent of that cost.
    Documentation requirement. Under current law, the proposed 
rule would require each member of an assisted household to 
submit documentation of citizenship or immigration status. 
Based on data from HUD, research on state experiences with 
Medicaid enrollment following implementation of a documentation 
requirement, and research on the share of low-income households 
that do not have documentation of their citizenship, CBO 
estimates that about 130,000 households would not submit 
documentation and would be ineligible for assistance by 2022. 
Based on data from HUD, CBO estimates that, on average, those 
households would receive assistance of about $9,300 annually in 
fiscal year 2022. In total, CBO estimates that implementing the 
documentation requirement would reduce program costs by $3.9 
billion over the 2019-2024 period.
    Ineligible Households. The proposed rule would prohibit 
households with both eligible members and members that are 
ineligible based on their citizenship or immigration status to 
receive housing assistance. Under the proposed rule, CBO 
expects that households with ineligible heads of household, 
spouses, or children would stop receiving assistance in order 
to keep the household together. Based on data provided by HUD, 
CBO estimates that approximately 23,000 such households would 
be ineligible for assistance by the end of fiscal year 2022 and 
that those households would receive an average subsidy of 
$7,900 in that year. In total, CBO estimates that terminating 
assistance for those households would reduce program costs by 
$539 million over the 2019-2024 period.
    Ineligible Members. The proposed rule would not allow 
people who are ineligible for housing assistance based on their 
citizenship or immigration status to live in households with 
eligible members. Under the proposed rule, CBO expects that 
ineligible adults who are not heads of household or spouses 
would leave the household and that the remaining members would 
continue to receive assistance. Households that receive housing 
assistance pay a portion of their income--usually about 30 
percent of their adjusted household income--for rent. Based on 
data from HUD, CBO estimates that ineligible adults contributed 
about $6,000 a year to their household income in 2019, on 
average. Consequently, the rent that households pay would 
decrease when the ineligible members leave and the subsidy 
would be adjusted upward.
    Based on data from HUD, CBO estimates that about 1,900 
households would have ineligible members that would leave the 
household and that those households would receive an annual 
subsidy that was $1,910 higher, on average, in fiscal year 
2022. In total, CBO estimates that program costs would increase 
by $11 million over the 2019-2024 period as a result of 
ineligible individuals leaving their households.
    Administrative costs. CBO expects that PHAs would incur a 
number of administrative costs to implement the proposed rule. 
Specifically, PHAs would incur costs to assist households to 
obtain citizenship or immigration documents, train staff about 
acceptable forms of documentation, and verify immigration 
status in a federal database. Based on information from PHAs 
about the costs of similar activities, CBO estimates that those 
costs would total $3 million over the 2020-2022 period but that 
they would not be significant after 2022.
    In addition, CBO expects that HUD would evict a small 
number of households in order to enforce the proposed rule. CBO 
assumes that the evictions would not be contested; 
consequently, the costs of evictions could include court, law 
enforcement, and minor legal fees. Based on information from 
HUD about eviction rates following implementation of a smoking 
ban, and information from industry sources on formal eviction 
rates, CBO estimates that about 10 percent of mixed-status 
households and households that lack documentation--or about 
16,000 households--would be formally evicted by 2024. Based on 
information from HUD and industry sources about the cost of a 
formal eviction, CBO estimates that those costs would be about 
$650 per household in that year. In total, CBO estimates that 
the cost to carry out evictions under the proposed rule would 
total $9 million over the 2022-2024 period.
    Uncertainty: CBO has identified several areas of 
significant uncertainty with respect to our estimates of the 
costs of implementing H.R. 2763. For example, we do not have 
good information about the share of assisted households that 
lack documentation of citizenship status or the extent to which 
households would acquire such documentation in order to avoid 
losing assistance. How households would respond to the 
requirement that all members of a household be eligible based 
on citizenship or immigration status for any member of the 
household to participate in HUD's assisted housing programs is 
also difficult to predict. If ineligible heads of household, 
spouses, or children leave the household in order to prevent 
the loss of assistance, the estimated costs of implementing 
H.R. 2763 would be lower than estimated.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Increase in long-term deficits: None.
    Mandates: None.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Elizabeth Cove 
Delisle, Mandates: Rachel Austin.
    Estimate reviewed by: Sheila Dacey, Chief, Income Security 
and Education Cost Estimates Unit; H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis; Theresa Gullo, 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison of the 
costs that would be incurred in carrying out H.R. 2763. 
However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

                       UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT

    Pursuant to Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and 
Impoundment Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, Pub. L. 104-4), the Committee 
adopts as its own the estimate of federal mandates regarding 
H.R. 2763, as amended, prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office.

                           ADVISORY COMMITTEE

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

              APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    Pursuant to section 102(b)(3) of the Congressional 
Accountability Act, Pub. L. No. 104-1, H.R. 2763, as amended, 
does not apply to terms and conditions of employment or to 
access to public services or accommodations within the 
legislative branch.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives H.R. 2763 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as described in clauses 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule 
XXI.

                    DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee states that no 
provision of H.R. 2763 establishes or reauthorizes a program of 
the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another 
federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

                        CHANGES TO EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, H.R. 2763, as reported, does not contain any changes 
to existing law.

                             MINORITY VIEWS

    In May of 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that limits housing 
assistance only to legal U.S. residents and certain lawful 
aliens. The intent of the proposed rule is to conform agency 
practice to current law. Under the rule HUD would be required 
to verify the eligible immigration status of all non-exempt 
recipients in each assisted household. Committee Republicans 
believe that by blocking this rule from taking effect, H.R. 
2763, the Keeping Families Together Act of 2019, would prohibit 
HUD from following the law as it is currently written and 
ultimately deny housing assistance to eligible recipients 
currently placed on waiting lists.
    Under Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development 
act of 1980, HUD is required to verify the immigration status 
of recipients to ensure housing assistance is not provided to 
those who are in the country unlawfully. The law does, however, 
provide for two exceptions. First, HUD does not verify the 
immigration status of those who are age 62 or older. The second 
exception is for those families who were grandfathered in for 
the continuation of housing assistance they were already 
receiving prior to 1988. All other recipients are required to 
verify the eligibility status of each member of their 
household. However, some recipients have been exploiting a 
loophole in the current regulations by electing not to contend 
eligible immigration status for one or more members of their 
household and, therefore, not submitting any verification 
documentation for those persons. As a result, by evading 
compliance with the requirements of Section 214, those 
households have been allowed to continue receiving assistance 
for which they are not legally entitled. HUD has a legal 
obligation to enforce the law, which is what the proposed rule 
would do by closing that loophole and requiring the 
verification of eligibility status for all non-exempt housing 
assistance recipients.
    HUD's proposed rule was carefully drafted not to create 
needless disruption for those individuals determined to be in 
violation of the law. Individuals who are ineligible for 
housing assistance would have 18 months to find non-federal 
assistance to pay their rent, or to find non-federal housing 
into which they could move. Currently, it is estimated that 
there are approximately 32,000 HUD assisted households headed 
by ineligible individuals. Requiring those households to follow 
the law would free up assistance for many of the eligible 
individuals who have been placed on years-long waitlists for 
housing assistance to which they are legally entitled.

                                   Patrick T. McHenry.
                                   Bill Posey.
                                   Alexander X. Mooney (WV).
                                   Lee M. Zeldin.
                                   Andy Barr.
                                   Frank D. Lucas.
                                   Ann Wagner.
                                   Blaine Luetkemeyer.
                                   Steve Stivers.
                                   Barry Loudermilk.
                                   Lance Gooden.
                                   Tom Emmer.
                                   David Kustoff.
                                   Ted Budd.
                                   Peter T. King (NY).
                                   Scott R. Tipton.
                                   Sean P. Duffy.
                                   Roger Williams.
                                   Trey Hollingsworth.
                                   Bryan Steil.
                                   John W. Rose (TN).
                                   Warren Davidson.
                                   Denver Riggleman.
                                   Anthony Gonzalez (OH).
                                   Katie Hill.
                                   Bill Huizenga.

                                  [all]