House and Senate Pass Omnibus with Provisions to Strengthen and Expand the Housing Credit

Yesterday the House and the Senate voted to approve a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill and the president signed it into law today.

The omnibus includes two key provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, taken from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661):

  • A 12.5 percent increase in Housing Credit allocation, effective for four years (2018-2021), and
  • A provision authorizing income averaging in Housing Credit properties, on a permanent basis upon enactment of this bill. Income averaging would allow Housing Credit units to serve households earning up to 80 percent of area median income (AMI), offset by deeper targeting in other units to maintain average affordability in the development at 60 percent AMI. The 60 percent AMI ceiling would apply to the average income limit for all apartments in a development rather than each individual Housing Credit apartment. 

This is the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years. The cap increase of 12.5 percent for four years beginning in 2018 will allow for the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 29,000 additional rental homes for low-income families, seniors, veterans, and persons with disability than would have otherwise been possible. This increase will not fully make up for the project loss of Housing Credit production as a result of tax reform – an estimated 235,000 homes over ten years – but it is a very significant first step.

See the ACTION Campaign statement on the enactment of these provisions in the omnibus.

Since the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act was introduced in 2016, more than 180 members of Congress have supported the bill, a remarkable display of bipartisan support that was made possible by the ACTION Campaign members who mobilized with passion and urgency to advocate over the last few weeks, months, and years.

But this effort would not have advanced without the enduring leadership of our champions in Congress. ACTION is especially thankful for the unparalleled leadership from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act’s lead sponsors, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), without whom this major victory would never have occurred. We also thank congressional leadership for their support, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). We are also deeply grateful to the cosponsors of S. 548 and H.R. 1661, many of whom were actively engaged with leadership in support of the Housing Credit provisions in the omnibus. In addition, ACTION thanks former Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) for his efforts that helped bring us to this point. 

ACTION looks forward to continued advocacy with these members of Congress as we seek to advance the remaining provisions from the Cantwell-Hatch bill, including the minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate.