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  • 2 Oct 2018 11:09 AM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On September 25th, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a sweeping new bill, entitled the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act”, which, if enacted, would authorize $500 billion in funding for Federal affordable housing programs over the next ten years. Funding breaks down as follows.

    * $445 billion would be allocated to the Housing Trust Fund, spread out evenly over ten years. The objective would be to build/operate/rehab 2.1 million homes for low-income households over this time period, particularly in areas which have been historically underserved (i.e. Tribal Lands, rural communities).

    * $25 billion would be allocated to the Capital Magnet Fund, spread out evenly over the ten year period. The funds would be leveraged 10:1 with private capital, with the objective of building 835,000 homes for low and middle-income families over this time period.

    * $4 billion would be allocated to a new Middle Class Housing Emergency Fund, which would support the construction of middle-income housing in areas where such housing is in short supply, and where there is a high overall cost of living.

    * $523 million would be allocated to various rural housing programs, including $180 million for Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loans. The objective would be to construct 380,000 new rental units, and assist 17,000 families with home purchases.

    * $2 billion would be allocated to the Indian Housing Block Grant Program, with the objective of building/rehabbing 200,000 homes located on Tribal Land.

    * $10 billion would be allocated to a new grant program which would be awarded to local governments which reform local land use rules to allow for an increase in construction of new units of affordable housing. Funds awarded can be used for various infrastructure projects.

    * $2 billion will be allocated to provide financial assistance to borrowers in rural and suburban communities with negative equity on their mortgages. The objective would be to provide support to those families who are still dealing with the effects of the Great Recession.

    The bill proposes that costs be offset by returning estate tax thresholds to their levels at the end of the Bush Administration (2007/2008), and would also institute more progressive rates above those thresholds. Additionally, the bill would strengthen existing fair housing laws (it would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, and source of income), and make it easier to use housing vouchers areas of higher opportunity.

    While it is highly unlikely that the Senate Banking Committee (the most probable destination for the bill) will take up the “American Housing and Economic Mobility Act” before the Midterm Elections, it is not unreasonable to expect it to be reintroduced in the next Congress. Should both the Senate and House flip, there may be enough support to move the bill out of committee and to the Senate floor at some point during the next Congress.

    Summary 

    Text 

  • 27 Sep 2018 2:00 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On September 26th, the House voted to pass a Minibus with FY 2019 funds for the DoD, Education, Labor, and HHS. The final vote count was 361-61. Notably, the Minibus also contains a CR which provides funds for all other government agencies through December 7th.President Trump is expected to sign the bill, despite signaling earlier his opposition to any bill which did not contain the funds needed to construct a wall along our Southern Border. The President has until midnight on Sunday to sign the bill, as FY 2018 funds run out on September 30th. A separate Minibus containing FY 2019 THUD funds has already been approved by the Senate, however as the House version of this second Minibus bill does not include THUD funding (along with other substantial differences from its Senate counterpart), reconciliation is required. The CR passed as a part of the Defense Minibus gives lawmakers the time necessary to come up with a final bill to send to the President’s desk.

  • 19 Sep 2018 4:02 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    The Senate yesterday passed H.R.6157, a Minibus which allocates FY 2019 funds for the DoD, Labor, Education, and HHS. Notably, the Minibus also contains a CR which will fund remaining agencies through December 7th, giving Congress more time to resolve differences between funding bills previously passed by the House and Senate. The vote today was 93-7. The House is expected to take up H.R.6157 next week, and it is hoped by Members of Congress that the inclusion of the CR will push President Trump to sign the bill. President Trump has sent mixed messages over the past few weeks as to whether or not he will sign the remaining FY 2019 spending bills, as he made clear that he desires full funding be included for a wall running the entire length of our Southern Border.

  • 6 Sep 2018 3:08 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On September 5th, the House Financial Services Committee, Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “The Cost of Regulation on Affordable Multifamily Development”. The purpose of the hearing was for Members of the Committee to hear from representatives of the affordable housing industry to identify regulatory barriers which have inhibited the ability of developers to produce more units of affordable housing, help assess the overall impact on the cost of building and maintaining affordable housing, and to allow the industry representatives to offer potential public policy remedies. The hearing was chaired by Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy (R-WI), and the witnesses were Ms. Sue Ansel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gables Residential, on behalf of the National Multifamily Housing Council; Mr. Steven E. Lawson, Chairman, The Lawson Companies, on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders; Ms. Erika Poethig, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, The Urban Institute; and Mr. James H. Schloemer, Chief Executive Officer, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    During his opening statement, Chairman Duffy, citing a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, noted that despite the current state of the economy, there remains an inadequate supply of affordable housing for America’s workers. The Chairman also expressed alarm at the fact that, according to studies published by the industry, regulation from all levels of government, on average, accounts for 32.1% of all development costs, thus increasing the overall cost of the housing. Additionally, Chairman Duffy stated that while most costs came from the local level, he is willing to work to find ways to decrease the overall regulatory burden. The Chairman made clear that he understands the importance of building codes, but is ready to reexamine the Federal government’s role in regulating multifamily development, as well as look at how Federal policy might be able to shape regulations at the state and local levels.

    On the other side of the aisle, Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA), in their opening statements, suggested that the Subcommittee find ways to strengthen existing HUD programs as a way to increase nationwide multifamily affordable housing stock, citing the successes of HOME and CDBG. Additionally, both Democrats echoed the Chairman’s desire to see what can be done at the Federal level to impact regulations at the state and local levels.

    Full hearing  

    Hearing page on the Financial Services website with links to individual testimonies




  • 29 Aug 2018 1:26 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On August 22nd, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a pair of housing bills on the Senate floor - S.3365 the “Middle Income Housing Tax Credit Act of 2018” and S.3364 the “First-Time Homebuyer Credit Act of 2018”. Both bills, if they become law, would enact sweeping changes to the existing housing finance system.

    S.3365 would create a new tax credit, the Middle Income Housing Tax Credit (MIHTC). The MIHTC would function much like the current LIHTC Program (e.g. funds would be allocated to states based on population, and state housing agencies would then allocate funds to developers through a competitive process), the main difference being that MIHTCs would be for increasing the stock of rental housing that is priced for those households which are classified as moderate-income. If enacted in FY 2019, allocations would be $1 per capita with a $1.4 million minimum for small states. An additional $0.05 per capita would be reserved for rural areas. Additionally, unused MIHTCs would be converted into LIHTCs if a state does not allocate the MIHTC within one year. LIHTCs created through this method would remain under the state’s control for an additional year, after which they will be given back to Treasury for reallocation (as an LIHTC) to a new state.

    S.3364 would establish a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that would cover 2.5% of the home’s purchase price, not to exceed $10,000. Additionally, the tax credit would not be available to households where an individual makes over $80,000 annually (this number is increased to $160,000 for married couples filing joint tax returns), and the tax credit would not be available for homes valued over $600,000. The tax credit would be fully refundable, it if the home is sold within five years then a portion of the credit must be repaid by the household (certain households can be excluded from this due to extenuating circumstances, such as relocation due to military deployment).

    Summary of S.3364


    Text of S.3364


    Summary of S.3365
    Text of S.3365

  • 23 Aug 2018 2:30 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    As FY 2018 winds to a close, the question of the current status of the FY 2019 Appropriations Bills is foremost on the minds of those both inside and outside The Beltway. Congress has chosen to bundle the various FY 2019 Appropriations Bills into a series of Minibus Acts, alongside several separate appropriations bills, all of which are in various states of completion.

    * H.R.5515 “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019”- Passed in both the House and the Senate, signed into law by President Trump during a ceremony at Fort Drum, New York. It should be noted that President Trump also released a signing statement to accompany the bill in which he disputes several provisions that he views as encroaching on the President’s Executive Authority.

    * H.R.6147 “Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2019” (note that H.R.6147 passed through the House under the title “Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019”)- Although both Chambers passed H.R.6147, the House and Senate versions differ significantly, as evidenced in the differing titles. Most notably, the House did not include THUD funding as a part of their Minibus Package, while the Senate added THUD funding. A reconciliation committee is required to resolve differences between the two bills before the final bill can be sent to the President’s desk.

    * H.R.5895 “Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019”- The bill has passed through both Chambers and the House has convened a committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

    * S.3109 “Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2019”- While the Senate has brought their Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to the floor for a vote, the House has not.

    * S.3108/H.R.6385 “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019”- Introduced in both Chambers, floor votes have yet to occur.

    * S.3158/H.R.6470 “Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019”- Introduced in both Chambers, floor votes have yet to occur.

    * S.3072/H.R.5952 “Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019”- Introduced in both Chambers, floor votes have yet to occur.

    * S.3159/H.R.6157 “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019”- The House passed their version of the DOD Appropriations Bill, but the Senate has not had a floor for a vote, the House has not.

    While the Senate continues to hold floor votes on bills and outstanding nominees put forward by the Trump Administration (including Robert Hunter Kurtz for the position of Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Public and Indian Housing at HUD), the House is currently in its August Recess Period until September 4th. The current Fiscal Year ends on September 30th, leaving Congress with a tight window to resolve any outstanding differences in the FY 2019 Funding Bills so that they may be sent to President Trump before a government shutdown occurs. As a side note, President Trump has repeatedly threatened that he would allow a government shutdown to occur if key immigration demands are not met, including full funding for a wall running the length of our Southern Border.

  • 3 Aug 2018 4:23 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On August 1st, the Senate voted to pass H.R. 6147, a Minibus Bill providing funding for FY 2019 for, among other departments, HUD. The vote was 92-6, with no notable surprises found in both the Yea and Nay votes. Highlights of the FY 2019 HUD appropriations are as follows-

    * $44.5 billion in total allocations for HUD for FY 2019.

    * A total of $22.780987 billion allocated for Tenant-Based Section 8 ($18.780987 billion allocated for FY 2019, plus $4 billion being carried over from the FY 2018 Omnibus allocations). $20.52 billion of this funding is designated as funding the renewal of expiring Housing Choice Vouchers.

    * $2.775 billion allocated for Public Housing Capital Fund, and this funding will remain available until September 30, 2022.

    * $4.756 billion allocated for the Public Housing Operating Fund, which is to remain available until September 30, 2020.

    * $100 million allocated for the CHOICE Neighborhoods Initiative, and these funds will remain available until September 30, 2021.

    * $3.365 billion allocated for the Community Development Fund, and $3.3 billion of these funds will be for CDBG. These funds will remain available until September 30, 2021.

    * $1.362 billion allocated for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and this funding will remain available until September 30, 2022.

    * $11.374 billion allocated for Section 8 PBRA (in addition to the $400 million being carried over from the FY 2018 Omnibus).

    * $678 million allocated for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, and the funds will remain available until September 30, 2022.

    * $154 million allocated for Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and funds will remain available until September 30, 2022.

    * $260 million allocated to combat lead-based paint, and this funding will remain available until September 30, 2020.

    These funding numbers match those of the FY 2019 THUD Spending Bill that was sent to the Senate floor by the Appropriations Committee back in June. As the House version of the Minibus does not include THUD funding (among other provisions), reconciliation is required. The House is currently on its August Recess Period, so the final version of the bill will not be sent to the President’s desk until September. It should be noted that President Trump has threatened to not sign any of the Minibus bills sent to him unless key demands concerning immigration are met, including the full funding of his proposed wall running the length of our southern border.


    Read the bill (HUD appropriations start on page 501, and end on page 584)


  • 31 Jul 2018 12:29 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On July 30th, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson announced the approval of a $1.5 billion disaster recovery plan that had been previously been submitted to the Department by the Government of Puerto Rico. Funding for Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery plan will come from HUD’s CDBG-DR Program.

    Notably, the bulk of the plan ($1 billion) is to be allocated towards rebuilding the housing stock that was lost in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria, with qualified homeowners set to receive $120,000 to rebuild their homes. The housing investment allocation in the disaster recovery plan also includes $10 million in funding for rental assistance for the elderly, and $100 million to act as additional gap funding alongside LIHTCs for eligible projects.

    HUD’s announcement

    Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery plan



  • 30 Jul 2018 5:38 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On July 19th, the House passed H.R.6147, an FY 2019 "Minibus" Bill funding several non-defense agencies (Transportation, the EPA, HHS, Interior, and the Forest Service of the USDA); the vote was 217-199. The bill has since then been sent to the Senate, where, as of last week, the Senate has added several other provisions to the bill, including the text of the FY 2019 THUD Spending Bill (S. 3023). S.3023 was sent to the full Senate for a vote by the Appropriations Committee back in June, and had not surfaced on the floor until last week (notably, on July 25th, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) specifically mentioned on the floor that THUD funding was included in the Minibus).

    Further progress on the Minibus has since stalled, with no major actions on the part of the Senate since July 26th. It appears that instead of passing one Omnibus, the House and Senate have decided to divide spending bills into several Minibuses, with the Senate also set to vote on H.R.5515, which contains Defense spending measures.

    While the House will enter its August Recess Period on August 1st (there are still activities scheduled for July 31st), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) back in June cancelled the bulk of the Senate’s August Recess Period for the stated purpose of passing FY 2019 spending bills, and voting on outstanding appointees for a large number of Federal positions. As a reminder, the Trump Administration’s appointee for HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, Mr. Robert Hunter Kurtz, remains on the list of appointees yet to be voted on. Due to the differences in scope between the House and Senate versions of H.R.6147, reconciliation will be needed. However, the reconciliation committee cannot meet until after the recess period ends in the House.

    President Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly threatened that he will not sign any spending bill unless key demands are met by Congress on immigration including full funding for his border wall.


  • 19 Jul 2018 1:44 PM | Steve Wallace (Administrator)

    On July 17, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing entitled “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress”. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Jerome H. Powell delivered testimony to the full committee.

    While the hearing itself was largely focused on broader issues of monetary policy, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) did bring up during the Q&A portion the issue of the future of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Senator Tester noted his concerns about the potential economic impact of requests such as Fannie’s recent one to draw $3.7 billion from the US Treasury. Chairman Powell declined to offer up specific plans, but did acknowledge that GSE Reform was something that should be accomplished sooner rather than later.

    The comments during the hearing on GSE Reform are unsurprising, as both the Trump Administration and Members of Congress from both Caucuses have brought up the issue since President Trump took office. To that end, it is worth mentioning that President Trump’s recently released Federal Restructuring Proposal does call for GSE Reform, but no formal legislative language has resulted from it. It is unlikely, at this rate, that Congress will take up the issue of GSE Reform in the immediate future, as both Chambers still need to pass the FY 2019 Spending Bills, and the Senate still has a long list of nominees to vote on (including the nominee for HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing). However, GSE reform is still very much on the minds of lawmakers, and IRHP members should keep an eye on its progression.

    Watch the hearing

    HousingWire has a good summary of the day's events


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