January ACTION Newsletter: Year in Review

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ACTION Campaign: A Year in Review

ACTION Covid-19 Response | ACTION mobilized quickly with our partners in the early days of the pandemic to compile key Housing Credit priorities for Covid-19 relief, both legislative and regulatory. ACTION created a Covid-19 Updates and Resources page on our website and engaged existing and new partners in our Covid-19 relief advocacy.

ACTION Congressional Outreach | Whereas in the past ACTION would have engaged with Congressional offices both on the Hill and in districts nationwide, last year our advocacy went virtual. With the help our members and partners, ACTION engaged nearly 300 Congressional offices in the form of virtual meetings, phone calls, and email correspondence.

Letters to Congress | ACTION’s members and partners, our Congressional champions, and Mayors across the country called on Congressional leadership to include ACTION’s Housing Credit priorities for Covid-19 relief in any response legislation through letters.

  • In April, lead Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) House cosponsors, Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), sent a letter to House Congressional leadership.

  • In May, 2,354 ACTION members sent a letter to Congressional leadership.

  • In June, nearly 70 mayors signed on to a letter circulated by ACTION on behalf of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan of Seattle to Congressional leadership, highlighting the Housing Credit’s nationwide support among local leaders in the face of Covid-19.

  • In July, 103 Representatives signed on to a bipartisan letter led by AHCIA co-leads, Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), to House leadership.

  • In December, the ACTION Campaign Steering Committee sent a letter to Congressional leadership.

AHCIA Cosponsorship Milestones | In the 116th Congress, the AHCIA gained more bipartisan support than ever before. In March, the AHCIA reached an impressive milestone, with more than half of the House cosponsoring the legislation. Since then, cosponsorship continued to grow in both chambers, and the AHCIA totaled 233 House cosponsors (including 69 percent of Ways and Means Committee Members) and 41 Senate cosponsors (including 50 percent of Senate Finance Committee Members) in the 116th Congress. ACTION will aim to build on this bipartisan support in the new Congress.

ACTION Membership Growth | ACTION remains the largest coalition of Housing Credit advocates across the country, with nearly 2,400 national, state, and local organizations and businesses signed on to the coalition. Last year, our coalition continued to grow, gaining 59 new members. In December 2020, we welcomed the following businesses and organizations:

  • TransEquity Development, Arizona

  • HousingLOUISIANA, Louisiana

  • Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, Minnesota

  • New York State Tenants and Neighbors Information Service, New York

  • Oregon Housing Alliance, Oregon

  • City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

  • Microsoft, National

  • Sheridan Consulting, National

The ACTION Campaign’s grassroots membership is its strength, as it allows us to demonstrate to members of Congress the widespread and growing support for the Housing Credit across the country. Heading into the 117th Congress, we are stronger than ever. Please help us continue to grow by inviting your affordable housing partners who are not yet members to join ACTION.

New & Updated ACTION Resources | ACTION created and updated a number of Housing Credit advocacy resources in addition to the materials on our Covid-19 Updates and Resources page. These included:

ACTION Looks Forward to Advancing Housing Credit Priorities Under Biden Administration

This December, ACTION sent a memo to the Biden-Harris transition agency review teams at the Treasury, HUD, and the Department of Agriculture. The letter includes opportunities to increase the supply of affordable housing through the Housing Credit and how the new administration can use its regulatory authority to advance some of ACTION’s priorities. In early 2020 the Biden-Harris team released its housing plan, which calls for an additional $10 billion in investment for the Housing Credit program and notes Biden’s plan to “ensure that urban, suburban, and rural areas all benefit from the credit.” ACTION looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration transition teams to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit.

President-Elect Joe Biden formally nominated Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary and Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11) as HUD Secretary. Representative Fudge cosponsored the AHCIA in both the 115th and 116th Congress. ACTION also looks forward to working with both cabinet secretaries if confirmed.

The Biden administration’s appointment for the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), who has yet to be named, has important implications for the Housing Credit. The OCC is one of the three banking regulators charged with overseeing Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance, and 85 percent of annual Housing Credit equity investment is CRA-driven. It is likely that the OCC will be the only one of the three regulators to be appointed a new head, as the heads of the other two banking regulators – the  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve (Fed) – still have remaining time in their term limits.

Though the OCC published a final rule to modernize the CRA in June of 2020 – without the sign-on of the FDIC or the Fed – it is likely that the OCC’s final rule could be repealed or significantly modified by Biden’s new Comptroller of the Currency once appointed. The Fed issued its own advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in October in an effort to modernize the CRA. It is possible that the three banking regulators will work together from this proposed rule towards one, final CRA rule in 2021. Comments on the Fed’s ANPR are due on February 16.

Thank You!

The ACTION Campaign would like to thank affordable housing advocates across the country – especially our members, partners, and Congressional champions – who joined in our efforts to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit throughout 2020. Despite the unexpected challenges last year wrought, this tireless advocacy helped secure a permanent, minimum 4 percent rate – an incredible success that will help many communities in the economic recovery of Covid-19.

In 2021, ACTION will continue its work to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit through the reintroduction and advancement of the AHCIA. As much work remains to be done, we look forward to advocating alongside you in the new year.

Krista D'Alessandro is the 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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