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Congress came back from its spring recess and hit the ground running with a hearing on affordable housing, the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget, and the House-passed Republican plan to address the approaching debt limit, by the so-called “X-date.” The nation breached the debt limit earlier this year, but the Treasury Department has used “extraordinary measures” to pay the country’s bills while waiting for Congress and the Administration to reach a debt limit deal. These negotiations are expected to overshadow most other policy work until an agreement can be met.
Last week, House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which would increase the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or until March 2024, whichever happens sooner, paired with reducing discretionary FY24 spending to FY22 levels, a cut of roughly $130 billion. These cuts would likely also impact other HUD programs that complement the Housing Credit program’s development and operations, such as Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. It would also rescind unobligated funds from the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, the CARES Act, and other coronavirus relief measures enacted in various bills over the last few years. If the bill were to pass as is, these rescissions could impact emergency housing programs authorized during the pandemic, including HOME-ARP, ESG-CV, CDBG-CV, Emergency Rental Assistance, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, and the Homeowner Assistance Fund. While the Housing Credit is not directly affected by the House debt limit bill, it would impact energy efficiency resources that could benefit Housing Credit properties.
The House debt limit legislation is expected to be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, where various committees are holding hearings this week to highlight the impact the bill would have on various programs and activities. The Administration, as of this writing, is still calling for a “clean” debt bill that would raise the limit without conditions. The Treasury Department is expected to release a new estimate of the X-date soon.
Meanwhile, ACTION has been steadily working with Housing Credit leaders in the House and Senate on reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA). Since our update in April, two additional new bill leads have decided to join our House champions for the upcoming introduction, including Representatives Claudia Tenney (R-NY-24) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19). We expect introduction very soon and encourage all ACTION members to gear up now for the cosponsorship campaign to come.
The best way to do that is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Housing Credit in addressing affordable housing needs in your states and communities by inviting Members of Congress to tour a property, attending to a ribbon cutting, or scheduling meetings to share information about the need for more affordable housing. The relationships you make now will be critical when it comes time to ask Members to cosponsor the bill, and the best way to achieve support for the program is to show them the difference the Housing Credit makes by bringing them to a property.
As a reminder, ACTION recently updated all state and district fact sheets, which you can use for your advocacy efforts. More materials will be available when our champions on the Hill reintroduce the bill. We look forward to working with our champions – new and returning – to get the AHCIA passed.
Housing Credit Raised in Senate Banking Committee Hearing
On April 26, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing entitled “Building Consensus to Address Housing Challenges.” During the hearing, the Housing Credit and the AHCIA were mentioned by Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) as critical tools to address housing challenges across the nation, and which have strong bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress.
While the overall references to the Housing Credit were positive, the Cato Institute witness made critical remarks, which ACTION addressed in a letter sent to the Banking Committee and submitted for the official record.
Urgency of Passing AHCIA Raised in House Ways and Means Committee Hearing
On April 21, the House Ways and Means Committee held a field hearing in Peachtree City, GA, on the state of the American economy in the South. During this hearing, AHCIA Champion Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) served as Acting Ranking Member, in the absence of Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-01).
In her opening statement, Rep. DelBene highlighted the Housing Credit’s success in producing quality affordable housing across the country and that the AHCIA had strong bipartisan, bicameral support at the conclusion of the last Congress. Representative DelBene used ACTION’s fact sheets to cite data about the Housing Credit’s impact in Georgia.
Later in the same hearing, Rep. Mike Carey (R-OH-15) touted the importance of the Housing Credit and the need for the affordable homes it produces in his district and across the country. He noted the bipartisan success Congress has had strengthening and expanding the program in the past and expressed hope about doing so again this Congress. Carey was a cosponsor of the AHCIA in the 117th Congress.
Support for Housing Credit Mentioned in Appropriations Hearings
On April 18, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) held a hearing with HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge regarding specifics of the President’s FY24 budget proposal. During the hearing, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) inquired about the Housing Credit, noting that his predecessor in Congress, Rep. Charlie Rangel, carried the provisions that created the Housing Credit in the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and Secretary Fudge underscored the Housing Credit’s success in her response.
In the Senate Appropriations THUD Subcommittee hearing held two days later, Secretary Fudge again touted the Housing Credit’s success as a critical tool for increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Support for Housing Credit Raised in Confirmation Hearings
On April 18, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a confirmation hearing for several key Biden Administration nominations. During the hearing, Dr. Jared Bernstein, the President’s nominee to be Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, expressed strong support for strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit. In particular, Dr. Bernstein reminded members of the Banking Committee of the expansion of the Housing Credit that President Biden pushed for in his Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Proposal, which would help address the nation’s affordable housing supply gap.
In April, the ACTION Campaign welcomed Utah Community Action as a new member! Help ACTION continue to grow our membership and advocacy strength by encouraging your networks to support affordable housing and the Housing Credit by joining the coalition. Membership is free.
Together, we can demonstrate to Members of Congress the widespread support for the Housing Credit across the country. You can also help strengthen our reach by following the ACTION Campaign’s LinkedIn page and inviting your connections to follow and join us.
Housing Credit Research and Publications
- A recent econometric study examined the impact of the Housing Credit on school spending in Texas. Using data from 2000-2020 (excluding Housing Credit properties that exclusively housed the elderly), the author found that, for K-12 public schools in Texas, on average, a Housing Credit property had a positive impact on spending, student attendance, and more.
Housing Credit News Highlights
- An April 26 article in Forbes notes that the Housing Credit is critical for affordable housing development and that Congress has tried repeatedly to strengthen and expand the program.