Congress Looks Towards Tax Reform Amid Busy September Agenda
Republican leadership continues to signal that a comprehensive tax reform bill will be ready soon after August recess, and the Administration continues to maintain that the President will sign a tax bill before the year’s end. However, while negotiations continue among the “Big Six” – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – Congress faces a busy legislative agenda this fall – including passing an appropriations bill, negotiating a budget deal to raise spending caps, and raising the debt ceiling.
To sustain momentum for tax reform, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) – joined by Committee Members Peter Roskam (R-IL-6), David Schweikert (R-AZ-6) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) – touted the GOP’s commitment to tax reform at an event in California last week, but offered few details about provisions likely to appear in a tax reform bill. Congressional leadership will likely continue to hold events to make the case for tax reform, as well as additional hearings on tax reform once Congress returns from recess after Labor Day.
Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Affordable Housing Crisis
On August 1, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on America’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Challenges and Solutions during which Committee members heard from witnesses about the need for affordable housing and the importance of passing Senator Cantwell and Chairman Hatch’s legislation, S. 548, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. The ACTION Campaign submitted a statement for the record last week in response to the hearing.
We encourage local ACTION members to thank their Senators who participated in the hearing and made positive remarks about the Housing Credit.
Local Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Expand the Housing Credit
Recent op-eds in Kentucky and Pennsylvania highlight the positive impact that the Housing Credit has on communities across the country, presenting compelling evidence to support S. 548.
Cathe Dykstra, Chief Possibility Officer, President and CEO of Family Scholar House in Kentucky, wrote in Louisville’s Courier-Journal that the Housing Credit has financed 34,000 affordable homes and generated $3.66 billion in Kentucky over the past 30 years, but there are still over 140,000 households in the state spending more than half their income on rent. She says that the state’s low-income families will not be able to succeed unless there is a significant investment in affordable homes. Dykstra calls on lawmakers to pass S. 548, which would support the development of an additional 12,315 affordable homes and nearly 14,000 jobs in the state.
Phyliss Chamberlain, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, also wrote about the tremendous impact of the Housing Credit and the affordable housing shortage in her state in The Philadelphia Enquirer. Considering that every dollar of federal tax credits issued has been generating roughly 10 times that amount of investment, Chamberlain argues that expanding the Housing Credit would go a long way towards addressing the state’s immense housing needs, allowing for the development or preservation of an estimated 1,000 additional affordable homes in Pennsylvania than would otherwise be possible.
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 87 co-sponsors (including Rep. Tiberi), with 10 additional members signing on in support of the Housing Credit in the past month. The most recent additions are Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), John Shimkus (R-IL-15), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1), Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), David Young (R-IA-3), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1).
The Cantwell-Hatch version of the bill (S. 548) stands at 20 co-sponsors, including Sen. Cantwell.