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Broad, Bipartisan, Bicameral Support

4 min read

Last month, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate as H.R. 3238 and S. 1557. The bill includes top industry priorities, like reducing the 50 percent test and restoring the expired 12.5 percent increase for nine percent credits. It also would enable the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to better serve hard-to reach communities, including rural, Native American, high-poverty and high-cost communities, as well as extremely low-income and formerly homeless tenants. 

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the legislation. Senator Wyden serves as chairman of the Finance Committee, which governs tax issues, and all the Senate leads serve on the committee.

Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Don Beyer (D-VA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the legislation along with 59 of their colleagues. Similarly, all six House leads serve on the House Ways and Means Committee and 27 of the 43 committee members signed on as original co-sponsors.      

Having strong leadership on the tax committees in both the House and Senate is critical and we need your help getting the rest of the committee members on the bill. Beyond the tax committees, the members serving on the housing appropriations subcommittees and the committees that govern housing issues (Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and House Financial Services) are potential supporters given their work on housing issues.

The new legislation remains largely unchanged from the previous version, apart from removing energy provisions passed in the Inflation Reduction Act, technical changes to the Extremely Low-Income basis boost and adding a sense of Congress on data sharing and transparency. As we rebuild the cosponsor list, we can easily say to previous cosponsors that not much has changed and they should re-cosponsor the bill.

National Housing & Rehabilitation Association is proud to partner with the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) and ACTION Campaign. Both organizations provide excellent advocacy materials and can help identify targets and set up meetings. As an easy first step, please consider joining the ACTION Campaign if you’re not already a member. Membership is free, and the more members we have signed onto the Campaign, the better we can illustrate to members of Congress the widespread support for LIHTC.

Next, check to see if your elected officials are cosponsoring the bill. These can be your own personal representatives, representatives of districts in which you have properties or where your offices are located. The last Congress had 207 cosponsors in the House and 43 in the Senate, we hope to outdo those numbers in this Congress.

Invite members and their staff out to tour one of your properties, or to groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings. Share stories with them about the residents you’re serving and how challenging it is to close deals. Find out what the member is interested in and tie it back to affordable housing. The ACTION Campaign has a slew of factsheets, including climate action, health outcomes, rural housing, seniors and veterans. There truly is something for everyone in this legislation and it’s up to us to help them understand how this would benefit them, their communities and their constituents.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Over these next couple of months, it’s an all hands-on-deck effort to increase the cosponsor numbers. The fall will bring several opportunities to attach pieces of the bill to must-pass legislation, and we want to be well positioned in advance of those opportunities to show broad, bipartisan, bicameral support.

We face a nationwide shortage of affordable homes and know how to solve the problem. The improvements and expansions to the credit will help meet the oversubscription states face in their award process and make deals financially feasible in more parts of the country. Most importantly, it’s about providing an affordable place to call home, which in turn provides dignity and stability. Thank you for all that you do to build communities and thank you in advance for hustling to get as many members on board as possible.

Kaitlyn Snyder is managing director of National Housing & Rehabilitation Association.