August ACTION Update: Senate Republicans Release Covid-19 Package; 103 Representatives Sign-on to Letter in Support of Housing Credit

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ACTION Updates

Senate Republicans Release Covid-19 Package, Bicameral Negotiations Begin 

On July 27, Senate Republicans released their proposal for the next Covid-19 package, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, which totals roughly $1 trillion. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) developed the plan in consultation with the Administration, though there is not yet Republican unanimous support for some aspects of the proposal. The Senate Republican proposal is a counter to the House passed HEROES Act, H.R.6800, totaling roughly $3 trillion.

Neither the HEALS Act nor the HEROES Act include ACTION’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) priorities for Covid-19 relief. However, there is still considerable support from many Senators and House members for adding these provisions. The HEALS Act includes limited housing funding— $2.2 billion for Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance, $1 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, and $113.4 million for the 521 rural rental assistance program. The HEROES Act includes far more affordable housing resources.

Negotiations between the Senate and the House have now begun, and Congress aims to complete the next Covid relief package before heading into August recess, though as of this writing the two sides remain far apart. ACTION encourages advocates to do outreach to their Members of Congress at this critical time, particularly those favorable to the Housing Credit on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee, to encourage them to press House and Senate negotiators to include our Housing Credit priorities in the final bill. 

103 Representatives Send Letter to House Leadership Urging Inclusion of ACTION Housing Credit Priorities in Next Covid-19 Relief Package

On July 31, a bipartisan group of 103 Representatives, including 44 Republicans and 59 Democrats, sent a letter to House leadership urging the inclusion of Housing Credit priorities in the next Covid-19 response package. The letter was spearheaded by affordable housing champions and Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) co-leads Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02). It calls for a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, additional basis boosts, a lowering of the “50 percent” test, and an increase in Housing Credit allocation by at least 50 percent. The inclusion of these Housing Credit priorities in the next Covid-19 relief package is particularly urgent given the delays to affordable housing production caused as a result of the pandemic. The ACTION Campaign applauds these 103 Members of Congress for elevating these Housing Credit proposals as critical for Covid-19 relief and urges advocates to continue outreach to their Members as Congress continues to negotiate the next package. The Representatives who signed-on include:

103 MOC KD.png

“4 Percent” Housing Credit Rate Drops to Historic Low for August

The “4 percent” Housing Credit rate, which saw a slight increase to 3.08 percent in July, has dropped back to the record low rate of 3.07 percent for the month of August. The “4 percent” Housing Credit rate is not set at 4 percent as its name implies; instead, it fluctuates according to federal borrowing rates, which have been slashed in response to Covid-19. Because of this drop in the Housing Credit rate, affordable housing properties across the country are at risk. Enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate would provide immediate equity to developments currently stalled and could produce approximately 126,000 additional affordable rental homes in the next 10 years, supporting 157,000 jobs during the same period. ACTION urges Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate to help ensure that affordable housing developments are financially viable.

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Gains More Bipartisan Support

The AHCIA reached an impressive milestone in the House this past March, with more than half of all Representatives cosponsoring the legislation. Since then, Representatives Luis Correa (D-CA-46), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) have signed-on. H.R.3077 now totals 224 bipartisan cosponsors. In the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are the latest to sign-on to S.1703, which now totals 41 cosponsors. ACTION thanks these Members of Congress for their support of affordable housing.

Check out ACTION’s updated cosponsor list to find out who is currently signed-on in each state.

Senate Democrat’s Economic Justice Act Includes Expansion of Housing Credit

On July 16, Senate Democrats released The Economic Justice Act, a proposal to invest $350 billion in communities of color as a part of the next Covid-19 relief package. The proposal is intended to further buttress House Democrats’ HEROES Act. The proposal includes the expansion of the Housing Credit by $5 billion for setting a minimum 4 percent rate for bond-financed Housing Credit properties, which would expand Housing Credit production by an estimated 126,000 units over ten years. These investments would fall under the $215 billion in the proposal aimed at long-term investments in communities of color. Click here to read a summary of the proposal. Click here to read a more detailed background of the proposal.

ICYMI: ACTION’s Updated National, State, and District Fact Sheets Show Housing Credit’s Impact Nationwide

This past month, the ACTION Campaign updated its national, state, and district fact sheets. ACTION urges its members and affordable housing advocates across the country to use these fact sheets to demonstrate to Members of Congress the urgent need for affordable housing in their communities and to elevate the importance of the inclusion of the Housing Credit in the next Covid-19 relief package.

ACTION Membership

The ACTION Campaign is pleased to welcome the following new members who joined in July:

  • Nunns Construction, Arizona

  • Morehead State University, Kentucky

  • Red-Wood Development, Inc., Missouri

  • Burlington Capital, Nebraska

  • Magnus Capital Partners LLC, New York

  • Prince William NAACP, Virginia

ACTION is the largest coalition of Housing Credit advocates in the country. Help our coalition continue to grow by inviting your state and local partners to join ACTION. The larger our coalition, the better we can demonstrate to Members of Congress that organizations and businesses in every community support strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit.

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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