Government Shutdown Ends with Temporary Funding Agreement
The partial government shutdown ended over the weekend when Congress and the White House agreed to fund the government through February 15 and provide lawmakers additional time to negotiate a larger immigration and border security agreement. Congress’s immediate focus will be reaching a full-year funding agreement to avoid lapsing into another shutdown on the 15th. Congressional activity related to other policy areas, including potential tax extenders legislation, has been effectively on hold since the shutdown standoff began but the government reopening may present an opening for negotiations to begin again. As always, ACTION is seeking any opportunity to advance provisions to strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and we encourage stakeholders to stay tuned for advocacy updates.
Congressional Champions Preparing to Reintroduce Housing Credit Legislation
ACTION has been working closely with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) on the reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in both chambers, including legislative tweaks and identifying new lead Republican sponsors to take the place of former Chairman Orrin Hatch and former Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Before a bill is re-introduced it is important to begin building support among new members of Congress and encourage previous supporters to sign on as original co-sponsors. If you are meeting with your members of Congress in the coming weeks we encourage you to:
Educate new Members of Congress, House Ways and Means Committee Members and Senate Finance Committee Members about the Housing Credit, share examples of its local impact, and ask them to support efforts to strengthen and expand the program.
We will be updating the Advocacy Toolkit with new materials for the 116th Congress when a bill is introduced. In the meantime, the ACTION State and District Fact Sheets, ACTION Campaign Members by state, and the 4 Percent Credit Rate Fact Sheet are valuable resources to share with Members of Congress and their staff.
Administration Signals Plan to End Government Control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The White House is expected to announce a plan by next month to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs), which have been under the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) conservatorship since September 2008. Joseph Otting, the agency’s acting director, told FHFA employees that the Administration would not wait on Congress, where efforts to overhaul the housing finance system have failed over the past decade. FHFA announced in November 2017 that the GSEs would be allowed to re-enter the Housing Credit market on a limited basis ($500 million in annual investments for each GSE) with the goal of preserving affordable housing, supporting mixed-income housing, providing supportive housing, and meeting other affordable housing objectives. It is unclear how the White House’s plan will impact the GSEs involvement in the Housing Credit market.