Senate Finance Committee to Hold Hearing on Affordable Housing Next Week
The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing for next Tuesday, August 1, on "America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions." The Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548) will feature prominently in the discussion. The witnesses will be:
- Daniel Garcia-Diaz, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, United States Government Accountability Office
- Grant Whitaker, President and CEO of the Utah Housing Corporation and President of the National Council of State Housing Agencies
- Kathy O'Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning at the Furman Center and former Assistant Secretary for the HUD Office of Policy Development and Research
- Kirk McClure, Professor of Urban Planning at the University of Kansas
- Granger MacDonald, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders
The ACTION Campaign will provide a statement for the record and encourages other ACTION members to submit statements as well. Statements must be received no later than two weeks following the conclusion of the hearing, and instructions can be found on the committee's hearing webpage.
Tax Reform to Take Center Stage
While Congressional healthcare efforts are still underway, Congress is increasingly turning its attention to tax reform. It remains to be seen whether Congress will be able to pass comprehensive tax reform, or even a more limited tax cut bill, with many unanswered questions, including whether Congress will be able to pass a budget resolution providing reconciliation protections to a tax bill and whether Congressional Republicans will be able to come to an agreement with each other and with the White House on the details of a plan. In the meantime, we wait for a more detailed tax reform plan from the Administration, building off the one-page outline the White House released in April, expected to be released in early September.
Meanwhile, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have held hearings on tax reform in recent weeks, focusing on the impact of tax reform for small businesses, middle class families, and working individuals. The Housing Credit was featured positively during a July 18 Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of David J. Kautter as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the Treasury Department. During the hearing, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) highlighted the critical need for more affordable rental housing in tax reform, saying, “The tax credit drives 90 percent of affordable housing, so if you don’t increase it, we’re not going to increase the supply.” Kautter responded that, “from what I’ve seen [the Housing Credit] works pretty well” and expressed an interest in making the program “even more effective and efficient than it is today.” See the full exchange between Senator Cantwell and David Kautter on the importance of investing in the Housing Credit.
During another July 18 Senate Finance Committee hearing, titled Comprehensive Tax Reform: Prospects and Challenges, Senators from both sides of the aisle discussed the need to lower the corporate tax rate in order to encourage job and wage growth, provide greater fairness within the code, and sustainably (and permanently) reform the tax system through fiscally responsible and revenue-spurring changes. Committee members from both parties expressed a desire to legislate in a bipartisan manner; however, some Democrats voiced concerns that GOP lawmakers may write legislation without Democratic input or not hold hearings in the Committee once a tax reform bill was drafted.
The House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee also held two hearings this month: How Tax Reform Will Help America’s Small Businesses Grow and Create New Jobs, on July 13, and How Tax Reform Will Simplify Our Broken Tax Code and Help Individuals and Families, on July 19. Both of these hearings explored the principles for comprehensive tax reform outlined in the House GOP tax reform blueprint, “A Pro-Growth Tax Code for All Americans,” released last summer.
Recent Op-Eds Highlight Importance of the Housing Credit Across the Country
Last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution in support of expanding the Housing Credit and called for increased investment in the nation’s critical affordable housing infrastructure. Eric Enderlin, president of New York City’s Housing Development Corporation, and Christine Hensley from the Des Moines City Council, argue in a recent op-ed in The Hill that consensus between the public officials in NYC and Des Moines -- two very different places -- indicates that the affordable housing crisis is a bipartisan issue that transcends geography and should not go unnoticed by Congress. Enderlin and Hensley urge lawmakers to protect and expand the Housing Credit, which includes supporting the Affordable Housing Improvement Act in the House (H.R. 1661) and Senate (S. 548).
Ralph Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, also wrote this week about the importance of expanding affordable housing resources, specifically the Housing Credit, which is the nation's primary tool to develop new affordable housing. And Matthew Reiger, CEO of Housing Trust Group in Miami, wrote in the Miami Herald that lawmakers must pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to support cost-burdened renters in South Florida.
New Resources Highlight Benefits of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act for Rural Communities
New ACTION Campaign fact sheets highlight the Housing Credit’s impact in rural areas and the provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act that would make it easier to develop affordable housing in rural areas. See the Senate version and the House version of the new rural fact sheet.
Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for other advocacy materials, including our new Case for Enhancing the Housing Credit, bill summaries, bill text, "Dear Colleague" letters, sample letters to members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship, and more.
Affordable Housing Events Taking Place Nationwide During Week of Action
This week, Our Homes, Our Voices is hosting a Week of Action with events planned across the country in support of critical affordable housing programs. Affordable housing stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the events that have been scheduled or coordinate their own local events during the Week of Action.
With members of Congress preparing to return to their districts for the August recess, we also encourage ACTION Campaign members to arrange property tours and site visits for members of Congress and their staff.
Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Continues to Gain Co-sponsors
The Tiberi-Neal Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661) has reached 77 co-sponsors (including Rep. Tiberi), with 14 additional members signing on in support of the Housing Credit in the past month. The most recent additions are Representatives Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3), Susan Brooks (R-IN-5), Matt Cartwright (D-PA-17), Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA-4), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Larry Bucshon (R-IN-8), Darrell Issa (R-CA-49), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Roger Marshall (R-KS-1), Robert Brady (D-PA-1), Scott Taylor (R-VA-2), and Stephen Knight (R-CA-25).
The Cantwell-Hatch version of the bill (S. 548) has reached 20 co-sponsors, including Sen. Cantwell.
With tax reform high on the agenda when Congress returns from August recess, now is a critical time for Housing Credit stakeholders to encourage additional members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors.