The next ACTION Campaign call will be held on Friday, June 30 at 2 p.m. EDT.
Tiberi-Neal Housing Credit Bill Surpasses 50 Co-sponsors
In the past three weeks, ten more Representatives have signed onto the Tiberi-Neal Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661), bringing the total to 55 co-sponsors (including Rep. Tiberi). The most recent additions are Representatives Ann Kuster (D-NH-2), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Todd Rokita (R-IN-4), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7), Lou Barletta (R-PA-11), Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16), Jim Himes (D-CT-4), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), Ken Calvert (R-CA-42) and Darren Soto (D-FL-9).
There are currently 19 co-sponsors on the Cantwell-Hatch Senate version of the bill (S. 548).
See the ACTION Campaign’s new handout making the case for enhancing the Housing Credit. And visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for other advocacy materials, including bill summaries, bill text, "Dear Colleague" letters, sample letters to members of Congress requesting co-sponsorship, and more.
House Tax Reform Hearings, ACTION Submits Testimony
Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee held the first three of a series of hearings on tax reform, including a “Hearing on How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs” on May 18, followed by a “Hearing on Increasing U.S. Competitiveness and Preventing Americans Jobs from Moving Overseas” on May 23 and a “Hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Proposals with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin” on May 24.
The ACTION Campaign submitted a statement to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to the May 18 hearing on “How Tax Reform Will Grow Our Economy and Create Jobs,” urging the committee to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit and protect multifamily Housing Bonds as part of any tax reform effort to grow our economy and create jobs. Our comments describe the Housing Credit’s 30-year track record of success, as well as the host of positive impacts that Housing Credit development has on local economies and communities – including creating jobs; generating local income and tax revenue; revitalizing distressed communities; increasing property values; and reducing poverty, crime, and racial and economic isolation. We also discuss the importance of the Housing Credit in preserving our existing investments in affordable housing, as well as the drain that a lack of affordable housing has on our economy.
Administration Pushes Back Timeline for Tax Reform
In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Secretary Mnuchin spoke about the Administration’s plans for tax reform. During the hearing, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) questioned Secretary Mnuchin on the administration’s proposals for certain programs in tax reform, including Housing Credit. Secretary Mnuchin indicated that he did not believe the Housing Credit was being considered for changes at this point, although he was clear that the administration is still reviewing all provisions in the tax code as it develops a more detailed plan. The Treasury Department did not issue a “Greenbook” as part of the Administration’s budget request, which is traditionally where an administration releases detailed tax proposals.
While the timing for tax reform is still uncertain, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn recently told reporters that the Administration will not deliver a detailed tax reform plan to Congress until after the August recess, although the Administration does still plan to achieve a tax reform package by the end of the year. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) has also indicated that tax reform legislation will not be introduced until the House, Senate and White House are in agreement, and negotiations are currently underway among Congress and the Administration.
NLIHC Report Reveals Severe Gap between Wages and Rent Prices
Last week, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released Out of Reach 2017, an annual report on the gap between wage levels and housing prices across the U.S. The national “housing wage” – an estimate of what a full-time worker must earn to afford a decent affordable rental home without spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent – is now $21.21 per hour for a two-bedroom apartment, nearly $14.00 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This means a minimum wage worker would need to work 117 hours per week to affordably rent a two-bedroom apartment. Millions of families continue to face rising rents, wage stagnation and an inadequate supply of affordable housing.