On March 15, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package that will keep the government running and funded through Sept. 30. Since last October, the government has relied on a series of short-term funding extensions while Congress worked toward this long-term solution. The trillion-dollar package, approved by the House March 9 and Senate March 10, includes defense funding ($782 billion; a $42 billion increase over FY 2021) and non-defense funding ($730 billion; a $46 billion increase over FY 2021). It provides for nearly $14 billion in support for Ukraine.
Notably, the bipartisan package includes a number of NAR priorities including:
- Affordable Housing: The bill provides $398 million for related agencies in the bill, including $166 million for NeighborWorks to support unique solutions to expand affordable housing options, increase housing counseling assistance, and strengthen economic development.
- EB-5 Regional Center Program: Revives the EB-5 Visa Regional Center Program, with reforms that would address many of the accountability and transparency issues that has plagued the program previously. The EB-5 visa program awards permanent residence for non-U.S. citizens who invest a specified amount in distressed places in the United States, particularly high-unemployment urban areas or blighted rural areas. The program lapsed in mid-2021 and is slated for renewal through September 2027.
- Broadband: Includes more than $550 million to expand rural broadband services on top of broadband funding included in the American Rescue Plan and bipartisan infrastructure bill last year.
- Transportation & Infrastructure: Provides the remaining funding to implement programs and spending in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which was passed in November. Provides more than $10 billion to upgrade the nation’s water infrastructure.
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The bill provides a total of $1 billion for SBA, an increase of $109 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, to support investments in programs to help underserved entrepreneurs access capital and contracting opportunities. The bill includes $290 million, an increase of $18 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, for Entrepreneurial Development Programs, including: $138 million for Small Business Development Centers; $37 million for Microloan Technical Assistance; $17 million for the Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, Growth Accelerators, and Regional Innovation Clusters; and $24 million for Women’s Business Centers.
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