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September 2023 Monthly Newsletter: AHCIA Advocacy Strategies & Other Housing Credit News

NEW DATE: ACTION Campaign Monthly Call on September 8

To accommodate Labor Day, the ACTION Campaign moved the monthly call from September 1 to Friday, September 8 at 2:00 PM ET. The October call will revert to its typical first Friday of the month schedule. Please find the Zoom call information below, and download and import the iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting:

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Legislative State-of-Play

Congress Returning from Recess with a Big To-Do List

Congress is returning from its August recess, with Senate back in session today and the House returning next week. Congress will spend the rest of September focusing on the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills to fund the federal government from October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024. With just a few weeks to nail down a deal, the House and Senate appropriators are far from agreement on spending levels.

Senate appropriators are in strong bipartisan agreement about passing all 12 appropriations bills at the levels agreed to in the debt ceiling deal from earlier this summer. The same cannot be said for the House, where the Majority is aiming to fund the government at approximately FY22 levels, over $100 billion below current spending amounts. As previously reported, the HOME Program, a key “gap filler” for the Housing Credit, faces a $1 billion (or 67 percent) cut under the House’s proposal. ACTION again requests that its members amplify the requests made by the HOME Coalition to urge Congress to enact the Senate’s proposal to preserve HOME funding at the current $1.5 billion amount.

If, as expected, Congress is unable to agree on FY24 funding levels by September 30, it will either need to pass a short-term funding measure called a Continuing Resolution (CR) or the government will shut down. Typically, CRs fund most government programs at the prior year’s level, with minor adjustments for anomalies; however, given the House’s position on funding and other demands from some Members, primarily those in the Freedom Caucus, it remains to be seen what a CR might look like. The duration of a CR is also unclear at this time. It could last just a few weeks, but most in Washington expect it to go into early December.

Another outstanding task on the House side is to take up the tax package passed by the Ways and Means Committee in June. Disagreement over state and local tax (SALT) cuts for high-tax states hindered the chamber from advancing the legislation before they left for recess. Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith and other Republican leaders are expected to resume negotiations within the Conference upon their return. This package, which does not include our Housing Credit priorities, is viewed as an opening salvo for future negotiations on a larger, bipartisan package.

What Does this Mean for the AHCIA?

At this point, the AHCIA hitching a ride on the Farm Bill or the FAA Reauthorization Bill is doubtful and the likelihood that it catches a ride on the FISA Reauthorization Bill – which would reauthorize top-secret counterterrorism courts and intelligence operations – is also minimal. There is a chance that it could hitch a ride on a Taiwan tax and trade bill that Congressional leadership is desirous of passing, but this is also unlikely.

The best for the AHCIA will be a year-end deal in December that would include tax and spending provisions. It is therefore critical that ACTION members mobilize your networks to advocate for the inclusion of the AHCIA in such a deal. We will be spending the next couple of months reminding Congress why it is imperative they prioritize the Housing Credit during negotiations.

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Local Government Letter Supporting AHCIA

ACTION is partnering with the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counites, and U.S. Mayors & CEOs for Housing Investment to send a letter to Congress in support of the AHCIA and the Housing Credit. The letter can be signed by mayors, county executives, and county board chairs. View the current list of local government leaders who have signed the letter here.

Please share this link TODAY with your local government leaders to sign the letter. The deadline for signatures is Thursday, September 7 at 5pm Eastern. ACTION will send the letter to Congress this month to demonstrate the widespread support from communities across the country. This letter will be an important tool in our advocacy efforts for this fall!

Cosponsorship Update

In the House, there were eleven new cosponsors in August, plus two added late last week, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 164. House AHCIA sponsor Congressman Darin LaHood issued a press release on breaking 150 cosponsors, which included a quote from the ACTION Campaign.

  • Nick Langworthy (R-NY-23), August 1
  • Josh Harder (D-CA-09), August 1
  • Tim Walberg (R-MI-05), August 1
  • Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), August 15
  • Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-26), August 15
  • Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-12), August 18
  • Roger Williams (R-TX-25), August 18
  • Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), August 18
  • John Duarte (R-CA-13), August 18
  • Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), August 22
  • Don Davis (D-NC-01), August 22
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), September 1
  • Mike Flood (R-NE-01), September 1

As of this writing, there are also 19 Senate Democrats and 18 House Democrats in the queue waiting to cosponsor. To add them on and maintain party parity, we need more Republicans.

Help Keep up the Momentum for AHCIA

The ACTION Campaign has a number of advocacy materials to help support your outreach, including updated National, State, and Congressional District Fact Sheets, updated statewide ACTION Campaign member lists, an in-district advocacy guide, sample emails for outreach, as well as detailed information about the legislation in our Advocacy Toolkit. We also have a complete list of cosponsors from last Congress, where you can check if your Senator or Representative has cosponsored in the past, as well as the most up-to-date list of current cosponsors.

Administration Updates

Treasury, IRS Publish Final Rules, Guidance on Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit

On August 10, the Treasury Department and the IRS published final rules and procedural guidance on the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit, a green energy tax incentive created by the Inflation Reduction Act. The credit, also known as Section 48(e) because of its location in the Internal Revenue Code, now has guidance on how it can be applied to Housing Credit properties.

OMB Releases Build America, Buy America Guidance

On August 14, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pre-published final implementation guidance on the Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirement from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law). Though the text of the pre-published version may change slightly upon formal publication in the Federal Register, OMB determined that individual federal agencies like HUD and USDA have the authority to issue specific waivers for how specific programs and projects can be exempted from BABA, such as affordable housing. Several ACTION Campaign members sent a letter, independently from ACTION, to the White House in March of this year on this matter.

Worst Case Housing Needs Executive Summary Published

On August 21, HUD published the executive summary of its 2023 edition of the Worst Case Housing Needs report to Congress. The report, which is based on the 2021 American Housing Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, found that worst-case housing needs grew notably across the country between 2019 and 2021. The full report is expected later this year.

Property Insurance

The National Leased Housing Association (NLHA) has been working to identify a strategy to address the unsustainable insurance issues facing its members. They have been asked to produce data for policymakers and have commissioned a survey (which is an updated version of one they used in 2021). This survey is detailed and may need input from your risk management team, but the completion should take less than an hour. NLHA is seeking responses from all owners of Section 8 PBRA/PBVs (including RAD); tax credit; Section 202/811; HOME assisted, etc., as well as and naturally occurring affordable housing (they are not surveying traditional public housing). The deadline for completion is Friday, September 15, 2023. Please use this link (powered by Survey Monkey). Respondents may use this PDF to view the survey and prepare their responses. NLHA very much appreciates ACTION members’ participation. NLHA requests that ACTION members also share this survey with other affordable housing providers.

ACTION Membership

In August, the ACTION Campaign welcomed three new members to the coalition. Please help us to welcome the following new members:

  • LISC Central Illinois, Illinois
  • LISC Puget Sound, Washington
  • West End Videos, New Jersey

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

  • An August policy brief from a graduate student at UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies discusses Housing Credit properties in areas of high opportunity. (This policy brief is a preview of the author’s master’s thesis, which is embargoed until December 2023.)
  • In early August, HUD released data on the characteristics of tenants in Housing Credit properties as of December 31, 2021. Information collected included race / ethnicity, disability, age, household income, and more. Further information can be found on the Housing Credit page of the HUD USER website.
  • A report released in August by the GAO found that the Housing Credit plays a major role in the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) program. It found that the Housing Credit provided roughly 40 percent of total nationwide funding to HTF properties, which means the Housing Credit is the biggest source of non-HTF funding for HTF properties.
  • An August 8 blog post by ACTION Steering Committee member AHTCC explores the link between housing stability, education, and future wage earnings. The post highlighted educational services and resources offered at specific Housing Credit properties and argued for the passage of the AHCIA.
  • An August 30 blog post from Novogradac analyzes the recent release of HUD’s Housing Credit tenant data and finds, among other things, that over half of all households living in Housing Credit units earn at or below 30 percent of the area median income.

Housing Credit in the News

  • An August 1 op-ed in the N’West Iowa Review by AHCIA original cosponsor Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04) highlights the importance of the bill.
  • An August 4 article in Smart Cities Dive covers, among other things, the June decision by HUD to lift the cap on the Housing Credit Pilot Program.
  • An August 10 article in the Virginia Mercury briefly mentions Sen. Mark Warner’s cosponsorship of the AHCIA.
  • An August 11 op-ed in The Hill advocates for passage of the AHCIA.
  • An August 14 discussion in the Urban Land Institute argues for passage of provisions of the AHCIA, including the restoration of the 12.5 percent increase to the Housing Credit that expired in 2021.
  • An August 14 piece in Commercial Observer notes that the Housing Credit is a strong tool for incentivizing investment in affordable housing.
  • An August 17 article in the Westerly Sun covers, in part, freshman Rep. Seth Magaziner’s (D-RI-02) reasons for cosponsoring AHCIA. The article notes that Rep. Magaziner recognizes that the housing crisis is a multi-sector issue that has negative spillover effects on industries such as national security and energy.
  • An August 20 article in the ABA Banking Journal noted that the ABA has endorsed the AHCIA, via a letter sent to the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees on August 18.
  • An August 21 blog post from Freddie Mac highlights the its recent efforts to fulfill its Duty to Serve via the Housing Credit, among other things.
  • An August 28 press release from House bill lead Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL-16) notes the fact that AHCIA has cleared 160 cosponsors, or over one-third of the House. ACTION’s Steering Committee provided a quote.
  • An August 30 article in WLDS covers the news from AHCIA House sponsor Rep. LaHood on the AHCIA achieving the support of one-third of the House as cosponsors.
  • An August 30 article in the Ripon Advance covers the news that the AHCIA has cleared one-third of the House as cosponsors.
  • An August 30 article in covers the recent study published in HUD’s Cityscape journal that debunks persistent myths about the Housing Credit and instead finds that the Housing Credit has positive spillover effects in the L.A. area. This study was covered in the August and March ACTION newsletters. Andrew Jakabovics, VP of Policy Development & Research at ACTION co-chair Enterprise Community Partners, was a coauthor.

Max Brossy

Max Brossy is a 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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