Category Archives: Congress

House Appropriations Committee Approves T-HUD Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, May 13 approved its FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill by a party-line vote of 30-21.

Fifteen amendments were introduced and five were approved, though unfortunately none of the approved amendments pertained to housing or community development. An amendment that was offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to remove language from the bill that would effectively eliminate the National Housing Trust Fund and fund HOME at the President’s request of $1.06 billion was rejected because the additional spending was not offset by other cuts. NAHRO supported the amendment.

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You Did It- Congress Approves FY 2015 Spending Bill

Thanks to your hard work, Congress approved a spending package last weekend that will provide responsible funding levels for housing and community development programs in the remainder of FY 2015. President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday evening and the Senate has adjourned concluding the work of the 113th Congress. The Senate also approved the House-approved one-year extension of the tax extenders bill.

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NAHRO Members: Share Stories about How the LIHTC Rates Helps Create Housing and Jobs!

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, NAHRO is asking members to pitch their Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) success stories to local media outlets as a part of our national push to educate members of Congress about why LIHTCs are beneficial and important to their home districts.

The fixed rate 4 percent and 9 percent rates expired at the end of the 2013 calendar year and have not been renewed. There are two legislative options to fix this problem: temporarily extending the credits or permanently authorizing them. NAHRO supports a temporary extension to allow communities to access these critical credits as quickly as possible, but hopes that Congress will approve the permanent authorization to avoid another lapse if a temporary fix is allowed to expire again.

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Take Action Today: Call Your Legislators

We need all NAHRO members to call Congress  today, Tuesday, November 18, to ask lawmakers to push for an FY 2015 full-year omnibus spending package that funds the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill at Senate levels.

To participate, visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for step-by-step instructions on how to contact your member of Congress and talking points.

Or, follow these simple directions:

  • To find your Representative’s number, go to www.house.gov.
  • To find your Senators’ numbers, go to www.senate.gov.
  • Ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant who handles appropriations.
  • Identify yourself, your organization, and your location.
  • Let him/her know that your organization depends on the certainty of full-year funding and that the House’s FY 2015 T-HUD bill does not provide adequate funding for programs upon which your community relies. Ask that your legislator to push for an omnibus spending package that funds T-HUD at Senate levels.
  • Thank the staff person for their consideration and time.

Once you’ve called your three legislators, email Tess Hembree (thembree@nahro.org) to let her know how your conversations went.

Don’t forget – tomorrow is the omnibus write-in day. Visit the NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send pre-drafted letters to your members of Congress.

Thank you so much for your participation. Without your support for an omnibus that includes T-HUD, it’s possible that FY 2015 may be funded entirely by continuing resolution.

Action Alert: Sign On to Support the Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Sign on letter

The ACTION Campaign (of which NAHRO is an active Steering Committee member) is calling on Congress to extend the minimum 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) rate for new construction and substantial rehabilitation and establish a minimum 4 percent rate for the acquisition of affordable housing before it adjourns for the year. The deadline for signing on to the letter has been extended to Friday, November 7.

When Congress returns next week, it will consider extensions of dozens of expired tax provisions, including minimum Housing Credit rates. While NAHRO and the ACTION Campaign believe the minimum 9 and 4 percent LIHTC rates should be made permanent, a temporary extension of these provisions for at least two years will still significantly strengthen the LIHTC at virtually no additional cost to taxpayers. The sign-on letter urges Congress to make these critical changes as soon as possible.

full list of ACTION Campaign members will be included in the final letter to Congress.  NAHRO encourages members to share the letter with housing authorities and redevelopment agencies in your area to help show broad support nationwide for minimum Housing Credit rates.

We also encourage NAHRO members who are active on social media to tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook to share when your organization has signed on to the letter and reshare the sign-on letter link. Use the hashtag #TaxCreditTuesday in your posts and tweets.

NAHRO Wants Your LIHTC Success Stories

NAHRO has been sharing its members LIHTC success stories both online, at the NAHRO on the Hill blog, and in print via theJournal of Housing and Community Development. If your organization has a successful LIHTC project, please let us know by contacting Emily Pasi at epasi@nahro.org.

Election Day 2014 – Potential Impact on Housing and Community Development

The Basics

Federal elections are held every two years on the first Tuesday in November. The entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate is up for re-election on this upcoming Tuesday, November 4. This election is critical for housing and community development programs (HCD), as many allies of HCD programs and members of committees with jurisdiction over our programs are up for re-election. Additionally, the balance of power could change in the Senate, impacting the leadership and direction of HCD committees.

NAHRO will be live-tweeting on election night as results come in. With a few exceptions, polls close on the East Coast at 8:00 p.m., so follow the conversation @NAHROnational or join in using #election2014 starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Also, watch the NAHRO on the Hill blog for post-election analysis in the days and weeks after the election and for a webinar walking you through what will be a critical lame duck session of Congress after the election.

Note: NAHRO is a non-partisan organization and does not take positions on elections. This is intended as informational only and not meant to endorse any one candidate or party over another.


House
Though it is nearly impossible for the control of the House to be taken by Democrats, there are a small handful of contested House races that could impact committees with jurisdiction over HCD issues. On the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Michael Grimm (R- N.Y.), Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) are all considered “toss-up” races. Appropriator Rep. David Valadao (R-Cali.) is in a race that is considered “likely Republican.”


Senate

Currently, the Senate is comprised of 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and two Independents (who caucus with the Democrats). This means that Republicans need to pick up only five seats to create an evenly divided Senate and 6 to control it outright. Based on polling, most prognosticators claim that Republicans are between 60 percent and 70 percent likely to take control of the Senate. That said, predictions and polling are frequently inaccurate for a variety of reasons; in June, polls showed former house Majority Leader Eric Cantor up by as many as 34 points immediately before his primary race in June, a race Cantor lost by 10 points. Be prepared for surprises on election night.

If the Republicans do take outright control of the Senate, committees would be controlled by Republicans, which will change the leadership of committees and type of legislation that is considered. If the Senate is split, Democrats would retain control of committees because Vice President Biden, a Democrat, serves as the president of the Senate. In the past when the Senate was split, some power sharing agreements were reached, though it is unknown whether similar deals are possible if the 114th is split.

But, an even split between the parties is unlikely given the number of Independents on ballots in various states. If no party controls the Senate outright, the informal party allegiance of Independents could be the deciding factor in tipping the balance of power one way or the other.
It is also possible that the balance of power in the Senate may not be decided until as late as January; Louisiana and Georgia law requires that run-off elections be held if neither candidate gets a large enough majority of votes, and Georgia’s run-off election is not scheduled until January 6.

Regardless of which party controls the Senate, there are several Senate races that could impact members of committees with jurisdiction over HCD issues, specifically the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee and the Appropriations committee.

Senator  Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) is a member of the Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittee and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is an Appropriator who is a strong housing advocate and both are in very tightly contested races. It is likely that based on Louisiana law, their Senate race could be headed for a run-off in December. Other appropriators who are in tight races are Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sen. Mark Begich (R-Alaska), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Only a single member of the Banking Committee is in a close race- Sen. Kay Hagan (D- N.C.). Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) is also up for re-election, but is largely considered safe. Also considered most likely safe is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who sits on both the Appropriations and Banking committees.

Beyond HCD impacts, there are also a handful of interesting races that could shift the balance of power in the Senate.

In Kansas, the Democratic candidate withdrew his candidacy over the summer and Democrats have chosen not to replace him on the ballot. However, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) has a formidable challenge from Independent Greg Orman, who is currently leading most polls, but is still well within the margin of error.

The retirement of Banking Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) has created a three-way race in South Dakota, in which Independent Larry Pressler could pull enough votes from Republican Mike Rounds to hand the victory to Democrat Rick Weiland. However, polling appears to indicate that the race is tightening in favor of a victory for Rounds by as many as 12 points.

In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leads challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in some polls by a slim margin, though other polls indicate that the Majority Leader is likely to win by as much as 8 percent.

Another retirement has triggered a close election between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue. Most polls are showing a less than 3 percent divide between the candidates, making a run-off election in January likely.


Lame Duck

Regardless of the outcome of the election on Tuesday, the 113th Congress still has work to do before the new Congress takes office in January. The current continuing resolution expires on December 11, which means that Congress will have to consider spending in FY 2015 when they return to Washington after the election. Additionally, the issue of expired tax credits, including the fixed rate Low Income Housing Tax Credits, is still unresolved. Visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page after the election to watch a recorded webinar and access tools to make the most of the lame duck Congress. Appropriations bills could be finalized as early as Thanksgiving, so be sure that you’re ready to weigh in on these critical issues with your lawmakers immediately when they return to Washington.