Senate Finance Committee Begins Tax Reform Mark-Up

Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee today began its mark-up of Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) tax reform legislation, called the Chairman’s Mark, this afternoon. Today’s Committee mark-up, which began this afternoon at 3:00 p.m., has been devoted to opening statements by the 26 Committee members. As we reported last week, the Chairman’s Mark preserves tax-exempt private activity bonds, including single-family and multifamily Housing Bonds, and makes no changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

Tomorrow, Chairman Hatch will release a "Modified Chairman’s Mark," a new version of the bill he released last Thursday evening that reflects changes to which he has agreed since. During the mark-up tomorrow, the Committee will walk through the Chairman’s Mark, and members will have the opportunity to ask questions of Joint Committee for Taxation and Committee staff about the Mark. The Committee may also begin consideration of amendments on Tuesday, depending on how long it takes to walk through the Mark. Over the weekend, Committee members filed more than 350 amendments to the Chairman’s Mark.

On Wednesday and until the mark-up concludes, the Committee will focus on amendments. Chairman Hatch’s goal is to report the bill from the Committee by the end of the week.

Chairman Hatch has filed an amendment to incorporate the provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, S. 548, which he has sponsored with Senator Cantwell, that cost no money. Since the Joint Tax Committee has yet to score S. 548, it is not clear yet which provisions would qualify for inclusion.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has filed an amendment to add all of the provisions of S. 548, as well as provisions to maintain Housing Credit production, address concerns about early termination of affordability restrictions due to qualified contracts, and clarify that the Credit allocating agency is responsible for determining the Credit allocation to 4 percent Credit developments.

Other housing-related amendments, on which little detail is provided, are as follows:

  • An amendment offered by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) to increase the Credit available to housing in rural areas and for veterans.
  • An amendment offered by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to require the Committee to conduct public hearings on the impact of the tax reform bill on various issues, including housing prices and access to affordable housing.
  • An amendment offered by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to suspend Mortgage Revenue Bond requirements for residences located in the Hurricane Sandy disaster area and provides an additional allocation of Housing Credit authority for states impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
  • An amendment offered by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) to include all provisions of Senator Cantwell’s Housing Credit amendment described above and address other non-housing tax credit and bond programs.

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