Capitol Connection: Co-Sponsorship of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Picks Up Steam in U.S. Congress
There is no doubt that June has become the month in Washington D.C. for affordable housing and community development events and conferences – when the U.S. Congress traditionally returns to the Capitol. For the U.S. House of Representatives, their schedule is packed until the Fourth of July break, then they return for three weeks in July before heading home for August. Advocates from across the community development and affordable housing spectrum, fill the security lines in June on both the House and Senate side to “refresh” members of Congress on their issues and asks.
As for the Senate, this year may be different. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced last week that he is canceling the annual August recess to deal with a legislative backlog he blamed on the chamber's democratic minority. House members repeatedly told me last week that part of that workload is due to a large amount of House-passed legislation this year that is sitting over in the leader’s office. The Senate may work three weeks in August after all, and you must feel bad for staff that had planned time off.
For those of us in the affordable housing Industry, we are marching toward the second half of the year with excellent co-sponsorship results for H.R. 1661 and S. 548, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. First introduced in March of 2017 by Rep. Tiberi, (R-OH), H.R. 161 is now sponsored by Congressman Carlos Curbelo, (R-FL), and since January has picked up 20 new co-sponsors. We are quickly building up the co-sponsorship. Two weeks ago, Rep. Curbelo circulated a Dear Colleague letter, urging even more participation. If you thought the housing credit was a partisan effort, look at the numbers: 73 republicans, and 81 democrats support it. That total is over one-third of the House, making it a very visible piece of legislation.
The same goes for S. 548. Look at the bill on Congress.gov – where 39 senators have signed on to support the bill, which among other things, establishes a 4% minimum credit rate – something all of us wanted in the recent omnibus legislation. If you are interested access the House bill.
I would like to ask you to please look at both the Senate and House co-sponsorship list. Is your member of Congress supporting this critically important bill? If you are in Washington this month for one of the many events, please take the time to set up a meeting with them – either thanking them for already co-sponsoring, or urging them to get on the wagon train for the credit. Don’t ever forget the power you hold as both a constituent and affordable housing resource. Many thanks and Happy June!
Don’t forget to check out the state and district fact sheets for the housing credit!