House Returns from August Recess, Eyes Potential Tax Legislation
The House returns to Washington today with a busy agenda ahead of the November mid-term elections, including a September 30 deadline to reach an agreement with the Senate on funding for fiscal year (FY) 2019. House leadership has also indicated its desire to advance Tax Reform 2.0, an effort to make the individual tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 permanent, among other changes. We expect that House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) will soon introduce legislation that follows the framework he released last month, and that the Committee will consider it. However, due to time constraints as well as political considerations, it is possible that the bill may not come to the House floor in the near term. It is also unlikely that Tax Reform 2.0 will garner the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate. ACTION is closely following the proposal and will weigh in to support the preservation of multifamily Housing Bonds if it appears the bill might target Private Activity Bonds.
Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Update
The House version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661) gained two additional co-sponsors over the August recess – Rep. David Roe (R-TN-1) and Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-TN-2). This brings total co-sponsorship on the House bill to 162 members, including 86 Democrats and 76 Republicans. The Senate version of the bill (S. 548) remains at 40 co-sponsors, with 28 Democrats, 10 Republicans and two Independents. We thank all ACTION Campaign members who hosted site visits and property tours for elected officials over the August recess and encourage you to share any press releases from the events.
It remains likely that Congress could consider tax legislation in the Lame Duck session after the election, which is our best opportunity to advance more provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661) this year. We continue to seek increased co-sponsorship to position the Housing Credit as strongly as possible heading into potential legislative negotiations.We encourage all Housing Credit stakeholders to continue reaching out to your elected officials who have not yet signed onto the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and urge them to do so. We also encourage stakeholders to thank your members of Congress who have already co-sponsored the legislation to reinforce their support heading into potential negotiations. Visit our Advocacy Toolkit for resources to reach out to Congress, including updated talking points on multifamily Housing Bonds.
OCC Seeks Comments on CRA Modernization
Last week the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) seeking stakeholder comments on modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).CRA was enacted in 1977, and requires financial institutions to lend to creditworthy borrowers in low- and moderate-income communities within their assessment area – the geographic area surrounding an institution’s depository locations. Banks can receive credit for investing in certain affordable housing and community development programs, including the Housing Credit. TheANPR seeks stakeholder input on: increasing lending and services to low- and moderate-income communities; clarifying and expanding the types of CRA-eligible activities; defining assessment areas; making CRA evaluation more transparent; improving the timeliness of CRA regulations; and reducing the regulatory burden of CRA performance evaluations. Comments are due 75 days after the ANPR is formally published in the Federal Register. ACTION will be submitting comments to ensure that any changes to CRA retain a robust Housing Credit investment market.
House to Hold Hearing on the Cost of Regulation on Affordable Multifamily Development
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on September 5 entitled “The Cost of Regulation on Affordable Multifamily Development.” The hearing will identify regulatory barriers to developing affordable housing, assess how these barriers affect the costs of building and preserving affordable housing, and suggest policies to meet the future demand for affordable rental housing. ACTION thanks the Committee for their attention to affordable rental housing and looks forward to working with Congress to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit to address the vast and growing shortage of affordable housing.