December 7, 2017

Senate Announces Conferees – Now is a Critical Time to Save Housing Bonds and the NMTC

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Yesterday the Senate approved its motion to go to conference and announced its conferees:
•    Conference Chair: Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) *Republican sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548)
•    Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
•    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) *co-sponsor of S. 548
•    Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) 
•    Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
•    Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) *co-sponsor of S. 548 and the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act (S. 384)
•    Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) *co-sponsor of S. 548
•    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) 

The Senate will also appoint Democratic conferees, whose influence will be limited.

The House Republican conferees were announced earlier this week and include:
•    Conference Chair: Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8)
•    Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22)
•    Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL-6)
•    Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6)
•    Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD-at large) *co-sponsor of Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661)
•    Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT-1)
•    Rep. Don Young (R-AK-at large) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661
•    Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-15) *co-sponsor of H.R. 1661
•    Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6), who replaced Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR-2) on the committee

The conference committee will now begin the formal work of reconciling differences between the House and Senate bills, though informal negotiations have been ongoing and will involve many Republican members who are not part of the conference committee.

Retaining Housing Bonds and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) are our top priorities in conference.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has suggested that a compromise on retaining private activity bonds could include limiting their uses to infrastructure, specifically airports and surface transportation. In your outreach to all Republican members emphasize that we must specifically retain multifamily Housing Bonds.

Recent reports have also indicated that the House may try to replace the NMTC with the Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA), a bipartisan proposal to reinvest capital into distressed communities that was included in the Senate bill. It is critical that your outreach to Republican members emphasize that the NMTC should be kept intact as it was in the Senate’s tax reform bill. See the NMTC Coalition's new fact sheet on preserving the NMTC.

This week is absolutely critical for advocacy, and all stakeholders should be reaching out to Republican members to make the case for preserving multifamily Housing Bonds and retaining the NMTC in conference. Please reach out to all conferees, as well as Republican members who are not on the conference committee, asking them to weigh in with leadership and the conferees.  

Over the weekend the Senate passed its tax reform bill, which retains the Housing Credit, multifamily Housing Bonds and NMTC. The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would retain the Housing Credit, but repeal private activity bonds, including multifamily Housing Bonds, and would eliminate the NMTC after 2017. If Housing Bonds are repealed, roughly 800,000 affordable homes would not be built or preserved over the next decade, according to analysis from Novogradac & Company. See the ACTION Campaign’s overview of the provisions in the House and Senate tax reform bills impacting affordable housing

Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for updated sample letters to members of Congress, talking points on Housing Bonds and more, and visit the NMTC Coalition website for resources to advocate for this critical community revitalization tool.