ACTION 2021 Year in Review & Legislative Update

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Legislative Update & Current Advocacy Strategy

Build Back Better Act Stalls in the Senate

On December 19, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that he will not support the Build Back Better Act (BBB) as currently constructed, casting doubt on prospects for the ultimate passage of this historic legislative package. In a Dear Colleague letter released the day after Sen. Manchin’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) committed to still bring up the bill for a vote early in the New Year, despite current opposition from the West Virginia Senator. Senator Manchin’s announcement leaves all aspects of the legislation, including the provisions to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit, in limbo until the President and congressional Democrats can determine a path forward.

As previously reported by ACTION, the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) had released updated legislative language on December 11, including historic investment in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). The SFC Housing Credit provisions largely mirror those included in the House-passed legislation, except for a few changes regarding the timeline of the annual allocation increase and clarifications on the basis boost for extremely low-income households. The Senate parliamentarian has yet to review the Housing Credit provisions as a part of the so-called “Byrd Bath,” which determines whether any provisions violate the rules governing legislation considered through the budget reconciliation process.

As negotiations surrounding the BBB continue, ACTION will keep members and partners apprised of the latest legislative happenings, as well as key opportunities to engage in pointed Housing Credit advocacy to Members of Congress. In addition, we will look for additional opportunities to expand the Housing Credit, including the 12.5 percent expansion from 2018 that expired on December 31. ACTION is in close contact with the SFC and the House Ways and Means Committee on the issue and will alert members should there be a separate “extenders” legislation which could address this expiration outside of BBB.

ACTION will also push forward with its advocacy for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), building on the strong foundation of cosponsorship from 2021. As of December 15, we have secured 32 Senate cosponsors and 133 House cosponsors. (See “Year in Review” below for more details). We expect several opportunities for ACTION and its members to push for the expansion and strengthening of the Housing Credit in 2022.

2021 Year in Review

ACTION Congressional Outreach | Despite having to remain virtual in our advocacy efforts, ACTION’s engagement with congressional offices in 2021 remained strong. With the help of our members and partners, ACTION engaged every House and Senate congressional office regarding our Housing Credit priorities multiple times throughout the year via virtual meetings, phone calls, and email correspondence. In addition, we kept in regular contact with AHCIA cosponsors to advance Housing Credit priorities from the bill in both House and Senate versions of the BBB and held regular strategy meetings with AHCIA bill sponsors’ staff.

AHCIA Cosponsorship Progress | In 2021, ACTION engaged in numerous meetings with congressional offices to build bipartisan support for the AHCIA. In the Senate, S. 1136 currently has 32 total cosponsors – including 10 Republicans and 22 Democrats – with 50 percent of the Senate Finance Committee currently signed on. In the House, H.R.2573 currently has 133 total cosponsors – including 79 Democrats and 54 Republicans – with 72 percent of the House Ways and Means Committee currently signed on. ACTION will continue its efforts to build cosponsorship for the AHCIA in 2022 and will engage our members and supporters to help with these efforts. For an updated list of AHCIA cosponsors, visit ACTION’s Advocacy Toolkit under the “Additional AHCIA Advocacy Support Materials” dropdown.

Other Housing Credit Legislative Highlights | In August, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) released the Decent, Affordable, Safe Housing for All Act (DASH Act), comprehensive housing legislation that includes a number of Housing Credit provisions from the AHCIA. Specifically, it includes the three major unit financing provisions from the AHCIA – the cap increase for the 9 percent Housing Credit, the lowering of the bond financing threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent, and additional basis boosts for rural, Native American, and extremely low-income communities – which combined would finance as much as 2,015,000 additional affordable rental homes over 10 years. Read more about the DASH Act in a press release announcing the legislation.

New & Updated ACTION Resources |

· Updated state and district fact sheets for advocates to demonstrate the Housing Credit’s impact where they live;

· An advocacy toolkit including educational resources to prepare for meetings and to share with elected officials, including Housing Credit Issue Fact Sheets detailing specific issue areas;

· A new video series including details on each of the provisions including the AHCIA;

· A social media advocacy guide, which includes samples for actions for individuals and organizations to help build support for the Housing Credit and advocate ACTION’s latest advocacy strategy; and

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