The results of last week’s midterm elections will shape the legislative outlook for the next Congress, with Democrats assuming control over the House of Representatives and Republicans maintaining, and likely expanding, their majority in the Senate. Finalizing fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations will be a priority for the remainder of this year, as the continuing resolution (CR) currently funding many government functions, including key affordable housing and community development programs, expires on December 7. However, it remains to be seen whether the lame duck Congress will complete spending negotiations before the deadline in December, and there is a possibility of another CR or shutdown next month. Finalizing FY 2019 spending legislation as soon as possible is vital to ensuring affordable housing and community development programs, and all others impacted by the CR, are able to plan and continue their work with a full picture of the funding available to them.
There is also the potential for Congress to consider a tax package before the end of the year, presenting an opportunity to strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and permanently extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). NMTC is set to expire at the end of 2019, but there is strong bipartisan support to make the Credit permanent as part of a tax extender bill. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and José Serrano (D-NY) are also circulating a sign-on letter urging their House colleagues to support NMTC permanency in the lame duck session. And if Congress broadens potential legislation beyond extenders, there may be an opportunity to advance provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661), including the minimum four percent Credit rate and an expansion of the Credit. Advocacy in support of these programs will be critical to ensure that they rise to the top of the list in any potential negotiations that take place. Stay tuned to the ACTION Campaign website for updates on Housing Credit advocacy, and theNMTC Coalition website for updates on NMTC advocacy.