January ACTION Update: 2019 Legislative Wrap up, ACTION’s Year in Review, & Other News

Join the ACTION Campaign Monthly Call on Friday, January 10

The ACTION Campaign Monthly Call will be held on Friday, January 10 at 2:00 pm EST. Please note the new call-in number and meeting ID for this week, as we are switching to Zoom conferencing. We will return to hosting the monthly ACTION calls on the first Friday of the month in February.

Call-in information:

  • Phone number: 929-205-6099

  • Meeting ID: 178 785 337

2019 Legislative Wrap-Up

On December 20, the President signed a $1.4 trillion spending package to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2020, which included a $426 billion year-end tax package. Unfortunately, the final tax package did not include provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA). Earlier on in the final negotiations between Congressional leadership and the White House, the 4 percent Housing Credit rate – a key provision of the AHCIA – was included in the package. Ultimately, due to larger politics, the 4 percent Housing Credit rate and many other tax priorities did not make it into the final package. Nonetheless, advocates should be proud that this key AHCIA provision was initially recognized as a priority in the negotiations.

The final tax package did include a few notable wins for affordable housing and community development advocates. The New Markets Tax Credit, which was set to expire at the end of 2019, was extended through 2020 and received an increase in allocation authority from $3.5 billion to $5 billion. Additionally, nearly $1 billion of disaster Housing Credits for 2017–2018 California wildfire areas were included as a part of California’s 2020 Housing Credit allocation authority.

The ACTION Campaign would like to thank Housing Credit supporters who promoted the AHCIA, as well as the many Members of Congress who called for the Housing Credit to be included in the year-end tax deal. Please join us in thanking our many cosponsors, especially our champions Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) for their tireless leadership. We are ready to continue the work in 2020 to advance our AHCIA priorities.

ACTION’s Year in Review

  • Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Introduced | On June 4, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), introduce the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) of 2019 (S. 1703 and H.R. 3077).

  • Over 2,200 Affordable Housing Stakeholders Endorse the AHCIA | The same month of its introduction, more than 2,200 affordable housing advocates representing national, state, and local stakeholders endorse the AHCIA, signing-on to a letter to Congress in support of the legislation.

  • AHCIA Bill Leads Host Legislative Briefing on Bill | On June 21, several of the bill leads offices, including Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Todd Young (R-IN) and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX), hosted a legislative briefing for Congressional staff on the AHCIA. A panel of affordable housing experts were called in to speak, including Sarah Brundage, Senior Director of Public Policy, Enterprise, and Jennifer Schwartz, Director of Tax and Housing Advocacy, NCSHA.

  • AHCIA Cosponsorship Milestones | The AHCIA gained bipartisan momentum faster than ever in the 116th Congress, highlighting growing support among Members of Congress to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis. As of January 1, 2020, the AHCIA has 38 cosponsors in the Senate, including 46 percent of the Finance Committee, and 198 cosponsors in the House, including 69 percent of Ways and Means Committee. The House bill already has more cosponsors this Congress than in last year’s version of the bill (H.R. 1661).

  • Nearly 50 Mayors Endorse the AHCIA | On behalf of Mayors Jenny A. Durkan of Seattle and Victoria Woodards of Tacoma, Enterprise circulated a letter asking mayors across the country to call on Congressional leadership to advance the AHCIA. In just a few short weeks nearly 50 mayors signed-on to the letter, highlighting the Housing Credit’s nationwide support among local leaders.

  • ACTION Campaign Holds Over 150 Hill Meetings | The ACTION Campaign staffed more than 150 Hill meetings during the 116th Congress to educate and engage Congressional offices on the AHCIA and increase the cosponsorship count in both the Senate and the House.

  • ACTION Campaign Produces New & Updated AHCIA Resources | To support the thousands of affordable housing advocates working across the country to promote the AHCIA, the ACTION Campaign created and/or updated a number of advocacy resources this Congressional session. These include state and district fact sheets, a new series of Housing Bond fact sheets for certain states, a video series explaining each AHCIA provision, and special issue fact sheets.

  • ACTION Grassroots Advocacy Efforts | The ACTION Campaign supported the grassroots advocacy efforts of local affordable housing stakeholders, facilitating several calls to action, creating dozens of state and district specific emails and phone scripts, and generating numerous state-specific sign-on letters. Thank you to our nationwide ACTION members and supporters.

  • ACTION Membership Growth | The ACTION Campaign’s grassroots membership is its strength, and this year ACTION grew stronger than ever with now over 2,300 national, state, and local organizations and businesses in support of the Housing Credit. We look forward to continuing to grow the ACTION Campaign in 2020.

Policy Updates

2020 Presidential Candidates Bloomberg, Klobuchar, and Steyer Include Housing Credit Expansion in Affordable Housing Plans

Democratic Presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Tom Steyer have released housing plans that include the expansion of the Housing Credit, among other recommendations. Bloomberg’s housing proposal would address the shortage of affordable housing through “an expansion of funding for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that would add hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing over ten years.” Senator Klobuchar’s Housing First Plan would “push to expand current Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocations to support the construction of additional units and work with states to strengthen rules to encourage a significant portion of [Housing Credit] construction in high opportunity neighborhoods.” Steyer’s affordable housing proposal would “increase LIHTC Housing Credit allocations by 50% over the next five years, establish a 4% housing credit floor for renovation projects, and enact reforms to create more than 500,000 additional affordable rental units.” It would also “prioritize [Housing Credit] projects that incorporate transit-oriented development, deep energy efficiency, and densification.”

View Bloomberg’s Housing and Earned Income Tax Credit Proposals here. View Senator Klobuchar’s Housing First Plan here. View Steyer’s Affordable Housing plan here.

OCC and FDIC Release Joint Proposal to Modernize CRA

On December 12, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — two of the three main U.S. banking regulators — released a joint proposal to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The third regulator, the Federal Reserve, has not signed on to the OCC’s and FDIC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The proposal would overhaul CRA assessment boundaries, criteria for eligible CRA activities, banks’ reporting regimes, and how banks are scored overall for their performance.

The proposed rule would introduce a new “50%-5%” breakdown, which would require banks that receive more than 50 percent of its deposits from areas not tied to its physical branches to analyze the reported locations of its depositors and consider any zones that have a concentration of more than 5 percent of the bank’s deposits as new CRA assessment areas. Under the proposed rule, banks would be evaluated on the basis of both the total unit number of CRA-eligible loans and the total dollar amount lent to projects benefiting low-to-moderate-income communities. The proposed rule would also require regulators to develop a frequently updated list of commonly approved CRA activities, streamline the structure of CRA exams, and calculate CRA investment on an average, ongoing basis.

Once the OCC and FDIC publish the NPRM in the Federal Register, there will be a 60-day public comment period. The ACTION Campaign will be reviewing the proposal and considering its potential impacts on investments through the Housing Credit. Stay tuned for more information. Read the NPRM on the CRA Modernization and an American Banking piece highlighting key proposed changes in the NPRM.

In the News

Krista D'Alessandro is the senior tax policy analyst at Enterprise Community Partners. The ACTION Campaign is co-chaired by Enterprise and the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

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