Author Archives: Tess Hembree

About Tess Hembree

Director of Congressional Relations, NAHRO

NAHRO STATEMENT: Proposed FY 2017 HUD Budget

While positive in many ways, the Administration’s 2017 budget request still falls short due to larger budget constraints, despite increased dollars proposed for the homeless which are badly needed and which NAHRO supports.  While we recognize the ongoing need to continue the effort to get the nation’s fiscal house in order, we believe that providing a decent and affordable home in a neighborhood of quality for every American family is fundamental to who we are as a nation.   NAHRO believes that the bipartisan effort to pass long-overdue housing reforms in HR 3700 by a House vote of 427-0 should also embolden the Congress, in a bipartisan manner, to provide a responsible level of funding for housing and community development programs in FY 2017.  The need for these funds is well-documented; they will help many more low- and very-low-income families who need a safe, decent place to call home now!

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House to Consider Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act Tomorrow

The House Rules Committee just approved the rules for bringing the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA, HR 3700) to the floor this week. The bill is expected to be considered tomorrow, not later in the week as we previously reported.

The House is scheduled to convene at noon tomorrow and will first discuss a measure on Iran sanctions and an override of the President’s veto of a bill to repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act before turning to HOTMA, likely later in the afternoon.

As of right now, 25 amendments have been posted, including six that were submitted after the deadline this morning. Full Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) submitted an amendment similar to one rejected in the full committee mark-up that would “remove harmful language that would limit the amount that families receiving certain federal housing assistance can deduct from their income for childcare expenses.” It appears there is bipartisan support for the amendment.

Other amendments proposed include several that are similar to ones introduced during the appropriations process, including an amendment from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) that would “cause the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule…to have no force or effect.” It is unlikely many of these amendments will either be ruled germane or approved.

NAHRO has signed two letters in support of the passage of HOTMA- one letter signed by a broad array of housing stakeholders and another by industry partners PHADA and CLPHA (link coming soon).

HOTMA is expected to pass the House. Follow @NAHROnational for the latest information as HOTMA is debated on the House floor.

House Approves Spending Bill, Two Day CR

After a tense day in Washington and a narrowly-passed procedural vote, the House approved by 219-206 a $1.13 trillion spending deal that includes funding for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The vote came late on Thursday night, just hours before a government shutdown was to be triggered. The bill, along with a two-day continuing resolution, now goes to the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure soon.

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Lame Duck Update: Setbacks with LIHTC, Slow Progress with Spending

Congress returned to Washington this week after the Thanksgiving holiday with an ambitious agenda to complete before the end of the year, including the passage of a tax extenders package and a spending bill.

Progress was made this week on a tax extenders package; the House on Wednesday passed by 378-46 a one-year, retroactive bill to extend expired credits through the end of 2014. Though the bill includes the 9 percent fixed rate Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), it is essentially useless to LIHTC stakeholders because LIHTC must be applied to future affordable housing developments and the bill expires at the end of 2014.

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Take Action Next Week to Support FY 2015 Omnibus, THUD

For three days next week, NAHRO will be asking advocates to call, write, and tweet their members of Congress to urge them to approve an omnibus spending package that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill at Senate levels. Be prepared to take action on Tuesday, November 18 through Thursday, November 20.

This is a critical time for housing and community development programs; between now and mid-December, Congress will be making important decisions about spending and taxes before adjourning for the last time before the new Congress takes office in January. This time is commonly referred to as the “lame duck” session of Congress: watch a webinar by NAHRO’s Congressional Relations team outlining what you need to know about the lame duck session.

NAHRO will launch three days of advocacy efforts to push for an omnibus spending package that includes T-HUD at Senate levels. For detailed information on how to participate, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page and download the document titled “Lame Duck Omnibus Advocacy Materials for Nov. 18-20.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, call your members of Congress.  Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for contact information for your legislators and talking points on the omnibus. Or, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for written instructions within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document on how to participate.

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, email your members of Congress. Visit the Advocacy Action Center again to send your members of Congress a pre-drafted, editable email about the importance of passing an omnibus spending package with T-HUD included at Senate levels.

On Thursday, Nov. 20tweet at your members of Congress. Visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for a sample tweet and to find your lawmakers’ Twitter handles within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document.

Please take action next week to ensure that your legislators know how critical the passage of an omnibus spending package that includes funding T-HUD at Senate levels is to your community.