ACTION Update: Senate to Vote on Tax Reform Bill this Week + More

Senate to Vote on Tax Reform Bill this Week; House-Passed Bill Eliminates Housing Bond Program

The Senate is beginning debate today on its tax reform bill. Leadership is now considering final modifications to the bill to shore up support among Republican members in advance of moving the bill to the floor for a vote, which could happen as early as tomorrow. The Senate needs only a simple 50-vote majority to the pass the bill.  

The version of the bill that was passed out of the Senate Finance Committee two weeks ago retains both the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds, and includes several no-cost provisions to strengthen the Housing Credit; however, a new version of the bill that reflects modifications agreed to since then may be introduced at any time before the vote.

Earlier this month the House approved its version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which retains the Housing Credit but would eliminate the tax-exemption on private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. As written, this bill would reduce the future supply of affordable rental housing by nearly one million homes. Since then, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) has spearheaded a congressional Republican sign-on letter to House and Senate leadership opposing the proposed elimination of tax-exempt private activity bonds in the House’s tax reform bill, focusing on the need for bonds to support investments in our nation’s infrastructure and affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families. Twenty-one House Republicans, including Representative Hultgren, signed onto the letter. 

At this time, it is unclear whether the House and Senate will have a formal conference to reconcile differences between their bills, or if the Senate will make changes to its bill prior to its passage on the floor that would be palatable enough for House Republicans to pass that chamber unchanged.  

ACTION’s top priority is ensuring the preservation of the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing BondsAll ACTION members should continue to reach out to Republican Senators and Representatives to urge them to contact their leadership and tax committee chairs to insist that the final legislation preserve these critical programs. While we remain concerned about the impact of the lower corporate tax rate on affordable housing and will continue to seek opportunities to make changes to sustain affordable housing production in light of a reduced corporate tax rate, the threat of the elimination of Housing Bonds requires our full attention.

Outreach to the Senate:

  • We urge everyone to reach out to your Republican senators, both on and off the Finance Committee, and urge them to communicate to Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) their support for the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds, and tell them to make sure they retain these programs in the final legislation as negotiated with the House. 

Outreach to the House:

  • Urge your Republican House members to communicate to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) their support for retaining the Housing Credit and restoring Housing Bonds in any final legislation as negotiated with the Senate.

See our Advocacy Toolkit for:

Bipartisan Policy Center Report Suggests the Housing Credit Contributes to the Nation’s Public Health

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Building the Case: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Health, finds that “the robust evidence base linking affordable housing to better health outcomes… makes it reasonable to believe that the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit contributes positively to the nation’s public health.” The report also finds that properties financed by the Housing Credit have contributed to social, economic, and educational benefits for communities and families; reduced homelessness; helped low-income families free up valuable dollars to spend on healthy food and health care services; and contributed to positive health outcomes, particularly for populations with special health needs such as HIV, asthma, or substance use disorders.

National and Local Media Highlight Impact of Tax Reform on Affordable Housing

The impact of tax reform on affordable housing has been covered in numerous local and national media outlets. See our Housing Credit in the News page to see the round-up of stories and op-eds, and check back often for the latest.

If you have any questions please contact Emily Cadik, Director, Public Policy, Enterprise Community Partners, at ecadik@enterprisecommunity.org or 202-403-8015, or Jennifer Schwartz, Assistant Director for Tax Policy and Advocacy, National Council of State Housing Agencies, at jschwartz@ncsha.org or 202-624-7758.