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Capitol Connection - August 6, 2013


by Robert C. Moss, National Director of Governmental Affairs, CohnReznick LLP

August 6, 2013

House and Senate Fail to Move THUD

Twin events last week, with House and Senate versions of Transportation and Housing Bills both failing, send Congress into recess feeling that any future bipartisan cooperation is DOA. The Senate package ($54B) on Thursday lost previously hoped for GOP votes, peeling back the efforts of Senator Susan Collins (R- Maine) who authored the legislation with subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The Senate bill had restored approximately $10B back into the House version but was strongly blocked by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who was told to “sit down and shut up” by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) when Collins rose to appeal to her party to support the bill. On Wednesday, the House GOP leadership decided to pull its own version ($44.1B) of the same bill. The House Republican version cut so deeply into the transportation and housing bill that it lacked a simple majority. Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office reportedly said the House will return to the bill after recess.
 
LIHTC 9% Flat Rate

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced her 9% Fixed Rate Legislation on Thursday and has been in the process of obtaining co-sponsors before introduction. The bill would permanently fix the 9% and 4% credit rates when enacted. It was reported last night that Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Senator Collins are in support and that Senator Angus King (I-ME) and 17 other original Democratic co-sponsors are on board. The push will be on for more Republican support, especially from those on Senate Finance as a priority.
 
Tax Reform
 
Letters received from Senators who submitted reform proposals to Senator Baucus to fill his “blank slate” last Friday will be reviewed by staff over the break. We have been told that Senator Baucus wants to move forward with a mark-up after recess, most likely in October, as Congress has a short session in September. Ways and Means action in the House is still uncertain but the intention of Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) is for a mark-up to occur in this calendar year. Senator Baucus has announced he is leaving Congress at the end of his term next fall and Chairman Camp will be termed out as Chairman under House rules. While many feel that the prospects for tax reform are bleak, due to disagreements by Senate leadership over revenue, it is important that the LIHTC and NMTC be included as an expenditure in all proposals. These proposals may not go further than the committees, but will be the basis for future tax reform that is certain to happen at some point.

Robert C. Moss is a CohnReznick Principal and National Director of Governmental Affairs. Bob leads the Firm’s federal and state government relations efforts, particularly in the area of affordable housing. He can be reached at bob.moss@cohnreznick.com or 617-648-1406.


This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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