Senate Announces Conferees, Outreach Needed NOW to Save Housing Bonds

Yesterday the Senate approved its motion to go to conference with the House to negotiate tax reform legislation and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the Senate's Republican conferees.

Senate Finance Conferees:

  • Conference Chair: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) *Republican sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548)
  • Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) 
  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) *co-sponsor of S. 548
  • Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) *co-sponsor of S. 548
  • Senator John Thune (R-SD)
  • Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) 

Conferees on other committees:

  • Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY)
  • Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) *co-sponsor of S. 548

Conferees that are not Finance Committee members will deal primarily with issues under the jurisdiction of their own committees that do not impact the Housing Credit and Housing Bonds. 

The Senate will also appoint Democratic conferees, whose influence will be limited.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi earlier this week separately announced the Republican and Democratic members of the conference committee in that chamber.  

House Ways and Means Conferees:

  • Conference Chair: Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8)
  • Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA-22)
  • Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL-6)
  • Representative Diane Black (R-TN-6)
  • Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD-at large) *co-sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661)
  • Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-1)
  • Representative Sander Levin (D-MI-9)
  • Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35)

House Conferees on other committees:

  • Natural Resources Committee Chariman Rob Bishop (R-UT-1)
  • Representative Don Young (R-AK-at large) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661
  • Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI-6), (replaced Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-2) who Ryan had earlier appointed to the conference committee)
  • Representative John Shimkus (R-IL-15) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661

As with the Senate conferees, the House conferees on committees other than Ways and Means are on the conference committee in order to focus on issues under the jurisdiction of their own committee, and not tax issues. 

The House and Senate conferees will now begin the formal work of reconciling differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills, though informal negotiations have been ongoing between leadership for several weeks. 

While all of the tax committee members on the conference committee will play important roles in determining the outcome of the tax provisions in the bill, we expect that final decisions will be made by leadership -- McConnell, Ryan, Hatch, and Brady -- and influencing those members remains our primary focus.

Retaining Housing Bonds is our top priority in conference. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has suggested that a compromise on retaining private activity bonds could include limiting their uses to infrastructure, specifically airports and surface transportation.

In your outreach to all Republican members, emphasize that we must specifically retain multifamily Housing Bonds.

This week is absolutely critical for advocacy, and all ACTION members should be reaching out to Republican members to make the case for preserving multifamily Housing Bonds in conference. Please reach out to all Republican members, including those that are not conferees, asking them to weigh in with leadership and the conferees.  

In the early hours of the morning this past Saturday, the Senate passed its tax reform bill, which retains the Housing Credit and multifamily Housing Bonds. The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would retain the Housing Credit, but repeal private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds. If Housing Bonds are repealed, roughly 800,000 affordable homes would not be built or preserved over the next decade, according to analysis from Novogradac & Company. See our overview of the provisions in the House and Senate tax reform bills impacting affordable housing. 

Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for updated sample letters to members of Congress, talking points on Housing Bonds and more.