August ACTION Campaign Monthly Update: Legislative State of Play, Advocacy Updates, & More

Join the ACTION Campaign Monthly Call

The ACTION Campaign monthly call will be held on Friday, August 6 at 2:00 PM EST. We have created a new Zoom link for our monthly meetings, so please make note of the updated information below. The updated calendar invite with this information will be sent out shortly. As a reminder, if you would like to be added to the calendar invite, please email Krista D’Alessandro at kdalessandro@enterprisecommunity.org.

ACTION Updates

Legislative State of Play

Democratic leaders are continuing to pursue a dual track process for passing infrastructure legislation, including both a bipartisan infrastructure bill focused on roads, bridges, and broadband and a Democrat-only reconciliation bill, which we expect to include affordable housing infrastructure priorities. Last week, congressional negotiators working on the bipartisan bill came to an agreement on the details, and the Senate passed a procedural vote to begin consideration of the legislation. The Senate is expected to continue its consideration of the bipartisan bill and also take up the fiscal year 2022 budget resolution—a necessary step towards the Democratic only reconciliation legislation—before it leaves Washington for the August recess. Holding together the diverse democratic caucus will be a precarious balancing act for Congressional leaders.

Assuming both chambers are able to pass the budget resolution, this fall Congress will work on legislation that includes housing and other Democratic priorities that would be able to pass under reconciliation protection, allowing for Senate passage with a simple majority. As a reminder, the reconciliation process generally limits legislation to provisions that have an impact on the budget, either costing or saving money and requires offsets if provisions add costs outside the ten-year budget window.

Throughout this process, the ACTION Campaign has continued to build bipartisan support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) and elevate our Housing Credit priorities in these infrastructure discussions. We continue to work with congressional tax writers towards this end.

AHCIA Dear Colleague Sign-On Letter

House Housing Credit champions Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Don Beyer (D-VA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter urging their House colleagues to sign onto a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in support of including the AHCIA in reconciliation legislation later this year. Because reconciliation legislation will be a Democrat-only endeavor, we urge ACTION members to ask House Democrats in their delegation to sign on. The letter will remain open until at least this Friday, so please act now.

AHCIA Cosponsorship Update

In July, the AHCIA, H.R.2573/S.1136 continued to gain support in the House with 37 new cosponsors. This brings total cosponsorship of H.R. 2573 to 101 members – 62 Democrats and 39 Republicans – including 58 percent of the Ways & Means Committee, which is the House committee with jurisdiction over tax policies. In the Senate, S. 1136 still has 20 cosponsors, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, representing 32 percent of the Senate Finance Committee.

Updated Congressional District Fact Sheets

The ACTION Campaign updated the national, state, and congressional district Housing Credit fact sheets section on our website to better support our members in their advocacy for the AHCIA. Notably, ACTION’s congressional district fact sheets have been updated to include the total number of homes developed or preserved using the Housing Credit through 2019, the most recent data available from HUD’s LIHTC database.

Access your state’s advocacy materials – including these updated Congressional District Fact Sheets – via ACTION’s interactive United States map.

ACTION Steering Committee Letter to Congress 

On July 22, the ACTION Campaign Steering Committee sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging the inclusion of the AHCIA in any infrastructure, economic recovery, or tax legislation moving toward enactment. The ACTION Campaign will continue our outreach to Members of Congress to ensure that the Housing Credit and the AHCIA are elevated in any infrastructure negotiations.

ACTION Video Contest Deadline Extended

The ACTION Campaign is grateful to all members who have participated in the Housing Credit video contest so far. With our goal to collect as many videos as possible—and prizes still available—we will be extending the deadline for the contest through Monday, August 30. As a reminder, these are very short videos, which can be shot informally—our goal is to demonstrate authentic support for the Housing Credit and the AHCIA.

Detailed instructions for participating and an overview of topics can be found here. Your organization could win up to $100 – prizes are still available for most categories! We are still accepting videos in ALL categories, which we will promote on social media and share in our advocacy efforts in the coming weeks. Share your Housing Credit story  (enter guest password ACTION2021)!

Banking Regulators Announce Joint Commitment to Modernize the Community Reinvestment Act 

On July 20, the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced their joint commitment to strengthen and modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Following a review initiated by Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu, the OCC also announced its plans to rescind its May 2020 final rule, which it issued independently in an unprecedented break from the other agencies. The CRA, which aims to help low- and moderate- income (LMI) communities gain access to financial services, loans, and community development investments, was first enacted into law in 1978 and has only been amended twice since – in 1995 and 2005. Notably, approximately 85 percent annual Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) investment is CRA-driven.

The announcement of the OCC’s final CRA rule recission, as well as the three banking regulators forthcoming joint CRA rulemaking effort, is noteworthy, as ACTION and experts across the industry – including those at the three regulatory agencies – have widely expressed the importance of a unified approach to CRA modernization. Currently, there are few details on what the rulemaking process and timeline may look like, though a formal, joint proposal is not anticipated for several more months. The OCC’s decision will follow the standard rulemaking process, likely with a short comment period. Because some banks have already begun operating under the OCC final rule’s guidance on qualifying activities, it is possible that activities conducted under the rule would still be eligible for CRA credit even post-recission. Learn more here.

ACTION Membership

The ACTION Campaign is grateful to the 2,400+ businesses, organizations, and industry partners from across the country who support our work to expand the Housing Credit. Help ACTION grow by asking affordable housing advocates in your networks who are not yet members to join the coalitionMembership is free. The more members that sign on, the better ACTION can demonstrate to Congress the widespread support for the Housing Credit across the country.

In July, ACTION was pleased to welcome the following 8 new members:

  • Lincoln Avenue Capital, California

  • Freebird Development Company, California

  • Buyers Access, Colorado

  • Urban Restoration Enhancement Restoration Corporation (UREC), Louisiana

  • Downtown Neighborhood Association of New Iberia, Louisiana

  • Accessible Housing Resources, Inc., Texas

  • Central Washington Disability Resources, Washington

  • National Homelessness Law Center, National

Housing Credit Research 

  • On July 29, Trust for America’s Health released a new report, “Leveraging Evidence-Based Policies to Improve Health, Control Costs, and Create Health Equity,” outlining the role of social determinants in Americans’ health and key policies for improving health outcomes. The report cites affordable housing as one of its top five policy areas for achieving health equity, calling on lawmakers to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program as its recommendation for ensuring greater access to affordable housing.

Housing Credit In the News

  • In “Pressure mounts for more low-income housing tax credits,” KIRO 7 News highlights Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01)’s efforts to include affordable housing priorities – particularly extending the Housing Credit by 50 percent – in upcoming infrastructure legislation in Congress. If extended, the additional Housing Credits could fund 80 additional affordable apartments for formerly homeless Native Americans in Seattle.

  • On July 7, Mayor Muriel Bower of Washington, DC celebrated the opening of the Todd A. Lee Senior Residences, a 38-unit affordable housing community for senior residents in the Brightwood Park neighborhood. The residences were funded through a combination of grants, tax-exempt bonds, and $5.6 million in Housing Credits.

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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