The wait is finally over for new affordable housing legislation to replace S.548 and H.R.1661 from the previous Congress. Now we have Senate bill S.1703 and House legislation H.R.3307.
CohnReznick has been active in creating the framework for the new language and has been working closely all year with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., on the reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) in both chambers, including legislative tweaks and identifying new Republican sponsors to take the place of former Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former Ways and Means member Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.
The government shutdown at the beginning of 2019 contributed to the long delay, but it did allow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle additional time to craft consensus language and create a truly bipartisan set of identical pieces of legislation – which is something we have not had in quite some time.
Sponsored by Senate Finance Committee members Cantwell, Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Todd Young, R-Ind., and House Ways and Means members Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, Don Beyer, D-Va., and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., the AHCIA of 2019 would make significant strides toward addressing our nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing. The bill increases the annual Housing Credit allocation authority by 50% over the current level, a major increase that includes a state increase of 50% as well. It establishes a minimum 4% rate for credits used to finance developments that use Housing Bonds. For a complete list of the many provisions contained in the bill, visit ACTION.
It is now incumbent upon each of you to make sure your member of Congress supports the bill and cosponsors the legislation. To help in your outreach, state and district fact sheets have been updated on the ACTION website. It is a very exciting time for housing advocates, and I hope you will join the battle to build support.
Meanwhile, we will be aggressively on the lookout for a tax bill to which we can attach legislation, which could come as early as September, but most likely year-end at this point. As House sponsor Marchant said yesterday, we will be looking for “any slow-moving train with a boxcar with an open door.” We have a very powerful set of bipartisan sponsors on the key tax-writing committees, and legislative staff for each of these members has helped us craft improvements to the low-income housing tax credit, which has a very good chance of passage. Thanks to all of them and thanks to you. Your grassroots outreach at home will make all the difference.
During the HAG meetings, legislators talked about how they first got acquainted with the housing credit and its importance. Each one said awareness was built at home, not in Washington, D.C. Please continue to generate awareness through your personal outreach. It makes a big difference on the Hill.
As always, if you need more information, please call or write.