CARH’s BROADCAST EMAIL – Legislative Update
Prior to the end of the First Session of the 116th Congress, the House and Senate passed two minibus spending bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, totaling $1.4 trillion. One bill was for domestic programs (H.R. 1865, enacted as P.L. 116-94) and the other was primarily national security funding (H.R. 1158). Both were signed into law by President Trump on Friday, December 20th and will fund all government programs through September 30, 2020.
Funding for the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (RD) housing programs, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, will be funded at or above FY 2019 levels. The attached funding charts provide an outline of the FY 2020 funding levels for both RD and HUD. (Click here for the RD chart and click here for the HUD chart.) A stable $1.375 billion for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA); $230 million in budget authority for Section 538 guaranteed loans; $40 million for Section 515 ($12 million for new construction); $32 million for rural vouchers; and $28 million for the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) demonstration program. On the HUD side, the public law provides the agency with $49.1 billion. Of this amount, the HOME Investment Partnership program will receive $1.35 billion; $3.4 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program; $12.57 billion for project based Section 8; and $23.874 billion for housing vouchers.
The RD section of the public law allows, at the request of an owner, for the Secretary of Agriculture to renew the Section 521 RA agreement up to 20 years or until the term of the Section 515 or Section 514 loan. Previously, the terms of RA contracts have been for only one year. CARH has advocated for many years for RA contracts to be 20 years. Since this language is in a funding bill, it will need to be included every year. Therefore, we would like to see this language in a bill authorizing RD programs. H.R. 3620, Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019, as passed by the House, which would allow RA contracts in transactions that are preserved through the MPR program to be 20 years. CARH has also advocated for language that would cover all RA contracts. This legislation has been referred to the Senate Banking Committee. Passage of this bill is a CARH priority during the Second Session of the 116th Congress.
P.L. 116-94 also includes tax provisions. While combining spending and taxing provisions in the same bill is unusual, it has become a regular occurrence over the past few years as more “must haves” get put into the relatively few bills that have the votes to pass. This year, the tax provisions were relatively limited, extending several tax measures that were due to expire, including the new markets tax credit.
While efforts were undertaken by the myriad of groups supporting H.R. 3077 and S. 1703 (the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act) to have various provisions included in the final funding bill, only provisions in the tax code that were due to expire were included as were disaster Housing Credits for wildfires in California. The New Markets Tax Credit was set to expire at the end of 2019. It has been extended to the end of 2020 with an increase in the allocation authority from $3.5 billion to $5 billion. It will be a top priority of CARH and others that are part of the ACTION Coalition to continue to pursue passage of the Housing Credit bills. Of particular interest to the industry would be a flat rate for the 4% Housing Credits and providing a 130% basis boost for rural transactions using the 4% Credits. Both provisions would be beneficial to rural housing preservation transactions. Click here to see an up-to-date list of cosponsors for both H.R. 3077 and S. 1703. If you do not see your member of Congress listed on this list, CARH members are urged to contact the Member and/or their staff and ask for them to cosponsor. If your member of Congress is a cosponsor, don’t forget to thank them and urge continued discussion and passage during this Second Session of the 116th Congress.
FY 2020 started on October 1, 2019, and Congress had been operating under Continuing Resolutions. This means, as has been the case in recent years, the federal spending bills were agreed to fairly late in the fiscal year. This pattern is expected to repeat itself in the upcoming 2020 election year. The Administration’s proposed FY 2021 budget is expected to be transmitted to Congress sometime in February.
As CARH members know, 2020 will bring both Congressional and Presidential elections. The Senate reconvened on Friday, January 3 and the House is scheduled to begin next Thursday, January 9th. Last year’s legislative calendar appeared to be more abbreviated than previous years. This year with the elections, it will be vital to get our message to the key decision makers early in the process. Again, we urge CARH members to invite their members of Congress and staff to your properties so that can see first-hand the housing that is so vital in communities throughout the country.
If you have not yet registered for CARH’s meeting in New Orleans at the end of the month it is not late. Visit www.carh.org, to download the registration form and the meeting brochure. You will not want to miss the discussions centered on many of the items touched on in this email.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact CARH at 703-837-9001 or email@example.com.