September ACTION Newsletter: Covid-19 Negotiations Break Down; No Monthly Call

*Note: There will be no September ACTION Campaign monthly call this week, as Congress is out for the August recess. Housing Credit legislative advocacy updates are detailed below. We will continue our monthly calls in October.

ACTION Legislative Update

Negotiations between Congressional leadership and the Administration for the next Covid-19 response package have broken down as members of Congress returned home for the August recess. While the House passed a broad response bill, the $3 plus trillion HEROES Act, in May, the Senate did not take it up. In late July, Senate Republicans released a series of bills totaling approximately $1 trillion that together constitute the Republicans’ version of the Covid-19 relief bill, the HEALS Act.

While neither the House nor Senate version of the legislation included ACTION’s Housing Credit priorities, the HEROES Act included numerous other emergency housing provisions, while the HEALS Act included minimal housing assistance. Before negotiations came to a standstill, House Speaker Pelosi suggested that Democrats and Republicans consider approximately $2 trillion in funding, essentially splitting the difference; however, Administration negotiators rejected the proposal. Congress then left for the August recess to campaign without a deal in place.

The Senate is set to return from recess on September 9 and the House on September 15. It is unlikely that a response package will come together until after both chambers return, though some discussions between key negotiators could resume sooner than that. When negotiations do pick back up, it remains unclear whether there will be stand-alone Covid-19 legislation or if a response package will ride a likely continuing resolution if Congress is unable to pass its appropriations bills by the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

Regardless, advocacy for ACTION’s Housing Credit priorities for emergency relief remains critical, particularly for the enactment of a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate. ACTION urges Housing Credit advocates to reach out to their Members of Congress, especially those already supportive of the Housing Credit that are current cosponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, to ask that they continue to elevate these Housing Credit priorities as critical for Covid-19 relief.

ACTION Membership

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

  • Devine & Gong, Inc., California  

  • National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), District of Columbia 

  • Perez Housing Associates, Florida 

  • Blue Ridge Atlantic, North Carolina 

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.

Housing Credit in the News 

  • An August 4 op-ed in Smart Cities Dive by David Rowe, executive vice president for CAMBA/CAMBA Housing Ventures, “Housing is healthcare. It’s time for Congress to shore up LIHTC,” argues that creating affordable housing is vital for the nationwide health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and calls for Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate to finance critical affordable housing development.

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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