On May 8, OFN’s Board of Directors met with senior officials from the Department of Treasury and staff from the Senate FSGG Appropriations subcommittee.
Just eight short weeks after Congress completed its work on the FY 2018 omnibus spending package, FY 2019 appropriations process is already well underway. The House and Senate Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittees, which oversee spending for the CDFI Fund, are considering their respective FY 2019 spending bills. Today, the House FSGG Appropriations Subcommittee voted to approve its FY 2019 bill which provides $191 million for the CDFI Fund in FY 2019, $59 million less than the FY 2018 appropriated level.
OFN is incredibly disappointed to see a funding cut of nearly 25 percent from the CDFI Fund’s budget, especially after the Fund received $250 million with strong bipartisan support in the FY2018 omnibus appropriations bill. Further, demand for funding from the CDFI Fund continues to grow each year, with this year’s applicant pool representing one of the most geographically diverse groups of applicants. The bill now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee where a vote is expected in early June.
Across the Capitol, the Senate FSGG Appropriations subcommittee held a hearing on the FY 2019 budget request for the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday. During the hearing, Senate FSGG Subcommittee Ranking Member Chris Coons (D-DE) expressed continued support for funding the CDFI Fund and questioned Treasury Secretary Mnuchin on the Administration’s FY 2019 request to cut over 90% of the CDFI Fund budget. Secretary Mnuchin acknowledged the CDFI Fund has had long bipartisan support and responded regarding funding for the CDFI Fund, “to the extent you [Congress] decide to fund it, I can assure you and commit that Treasury will continue to provide that function.” Secretary Mnuchin said the Administration’s decision to cut funding for the CDFI Fund was “merely making difficult decisions in prioritizing spending.”
The Senate FSGG subcommittee is still working on its version of the FSGG appropriations bill and will consider it the week of June 19-22. There is still time for you to contact your Senators and urge them to support funding the CDFI Fund in FY 2019 at $275 million!
FY 2019 Congressional Outreach
The CDFI Fund faces an uncertain funding environment as FY 2019 grows closer. While the Administration’s disappointing FY 2019 budget request was the same as last year, the Congressional situation has changed significantly - particularly in the Senate. On April 1, Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) retired from Congress which resulted in a shuffling of Senate Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee leadership. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is the new Chairman of the full Senate Appropriations Committee and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) will serve as the Chairman of the FSGG Subcommittee.
With new leadership on the full Senate Appropriations Committee and FSGG Subcommittee, outreach to Congress is vital. It is crucial for the CDFI industry to educate the new leadership on the value of the CDFI Fund to their constituencies. Over the past months, OFN has been meeting with appropriators to advocate for the CDFI Fund:
- On May 8, as part of the OFN Board of Directors meeting, the OFN board met with senior officials from the Department of Treasury and staff from the Senate FSGG Appropriations subcommittee to discuss FY 2019 funding for the CDFI Fund.
- OFN gathered data on the CDFI Fund and its impact on communities nationwide and submitted it as a memorandum to both House and Senate Appropriations FSGG Subcommittees this week.
- OFN worked with OFN Board member Shane Jett, CEO of Citizen Potawatomi CDC based in Shawnee, Oklahoma, who participated in a meeting with other local CDFI leaders with Senator Lankford’s staff in Oklahoma on Tuesday.
We invite you to join us in advocating for CDFIs. Since the Senate FSGG Subcommittee has not released its draft FY 2019 appropriations bill, it is imperative that as many Senators hear from you of the importance of the CDFI Fund. Now is the time for you to contact your Senators and urge them to support funding the CDFI Fund in FY 2019 at $275 million!