skip to main content

H.R. 1122: Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2019

Mar 11, 2019 at 6:56 p.m. ET. On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass in the House.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1122 (116th) in the House. This vote was taken under a House procedure called “suspension of the rules” which is typically used to pass non-controversial bills. Votes under suspension require a 2/3rds majority. A failed vote under suspension can be taken again.

Should families receiving government assistance for housing be encouraged to move to more well-off neighborhoods?


The government’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program was created in 1937 during the Great Depression to help low-income families afford housing costs. A person or family receiving the voucher chooses their own residence (as long as it meets the program’s requirement), and a housing subsidy is paid to the landlord. Recipients only have to pay about 30 percent of housing costs.

A 2015 Harvard study found that voucher recipients who move to better-off neighborhoods were better educated and later earned more. Yet a House Financial Services Committee report found that the program has not been as effective as it could be. Lower-income families receiving the voucher did not move out of lower-income neighborhoods as often as many of the program’s supporters would prefer.

What the bill does

The Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act would establish a pilot program to award housing vouchers to in such a way to encourage recipients to move to communities with less poverty.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would administer the program for up to five years, at the conclusion of which it would submit a report to Congress — and, if successful, the program could possibly expand nationwide.

The legislation was introduced in the House on February 8 as bill number H.R. 1122 by Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO5), and in the Senate on January 31 as bill number S. 291 by Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

What supporters say

Supporters argue the bill helps those who need a leg up, by better targeting an existing government assistance program to help people move out of poverty.

“This piece of legislation is all about expanding opportunities for low-income families that have been left behind,” Rep. Cleaver said in a press release. “As a former resident of public housing, I know firsthand that these individuals are desperately seeking greater access to employment opportunities.”

“By allowing families to relocate to low-poverty areas with better job prospects, we can help end the cycle of poverty that has ensnared far too many American families for too long,” Rep. Cleaver continued.

What opponents say

Opponents counter that the bill tweaks an existing big government program, rather than limiting or even ending its usage as they would prefer. The few House members who voted against the legislation are all limited-government Freedom Caucus or Liberty Caucus affiliated Republicans.

However, GovTrack Insider was unable to locate any explicit statements of opposition. No House member publicly spoke out against the bill during floor debate.

Odds of passage

The bill passed the House on March 11 by an overwhelming 382 to 22 vote.

Every voting Democrat was in favor, 219–0. Republicans largely supported as well, though with some dissenting votes: 168–22.

It now goes to the Senate, but could face the same fate as last year. A previous version passed the House, then under Republican control, by a similar 368–19 vote — but never received a Senate vote.

The current Senate version has five bipartisan cosponsors: three Democrats and two Republicans. It awaits a potential vote in the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.


All Votes D R
Yea 95%
Nay 5%
Not Voting

Passed. 2/3 Required. Source:

Ideology Vote Chart

Democrat - Yea Republican - Yea Republican - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

Cartogram Map

Each hexagon represents one congressional district. Solid hexes are Yea votes.

What you can do

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
Download as CSV

Statistically Notable Votes

Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.

All Votes

Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at If you aren’t sure what the House was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this bill is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the bill. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

    One tool that will be helpful in answering this question is the cartogram at the top of the page. A cartogram is a stylized map of the United States that shows each district as an identical hexagon. This view allows you to see the how the representatives from each district voted arranged by their geography and colored by their political party. What trends can you see in the cartogram for this vote?

  3. How did your representative vote?
  4. There is one vote here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your representative, which is meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your representative voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

Each vote’s study guide is a little different — we automatically choose which questions to include based on the information we have available about the vote. Study guides are a new feature to GovTrack. You can help us improve them by filling out this survey or by sending your feedback to