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April 11, 2014
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Senate Takes First Step Towards TRIA Reauthorization

Copyright: Les Palenik
Before leaving for the upcoming two week congressional recess, on April 10 a bipartisan group of senators reached consensus on legislation to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). This is great news for apartment owners and developers who are required by most lenders to have a policy in place on existing properties, as well as future development projects. The action comes not a minute too soon with TRIA set to expire at the end of this year.

Introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., the bill extends TRIA for seven years and reforms the program to ensure additional taxpayer protection. It does this by increasing the share of losses the insurer would bear relative to the government share gradually over five years in the event of an attack. In addition, it gradually increases the amount of money the Federal Government would recoup from insurers, after a loss in which the federal backstop was accessed, by $10 billion.

Without an extension, insurance carriers have said they are unwilling to provide coverage past 2014 for a terrorist event, which is problematic because most lenders require terrorism coverage.  If the program is allowed to expire, borrowers will most likely face significant cost increases and economic development will slow triggering severe economic instability.

The House is also reported to be drafting legislation to reauthorize the program and related action is expected before Memorial Day. It is critical that these efforts begin quickly so that any differences can be ironed out and a bill enacted before the end of this Congress.

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NMHC Insider
House Committee Tackles Postal Reform, Could Impact Apartment Mail Delivery

Postal reform was a key topic of an April 8 hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  The issue of postal reform has bipartisan support, with Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., applauding the budget proposal and announcing his intention to mark up legislation that is consistent with the proposal to help ensure bipartisan support for passage. But there is still disagreement over a proposed move to five-day mail delivery, and prefunding retiree health benefits, among other key issues.

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HUD Announces Key Change to Planned Multifamily Reorganization
As a result of an agreement with congressional appropriators, HUD has modified its previously announced multifamily field office reorganization plan called the Multifamily Transformation Initiative.  Under the initiative, asset management activities will no longer be subject to multifamily field office and personnel changes. Multifamily production and operations in the field, however, will continue to be consolidated and streamlined as part of the reorganization.
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April is Fair Housing Month, Learn More and Get Involved!
April is Fair Housing Month when HUD marks the passage of the Fair Housing Act by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The law is built on the protections secured by the Civil Rights Act, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, and prohibits discrimination in the rental, sale and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and family status.
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Republican, Democrat Budget Proposals Highlight Different Agendas

House Budget Committee Chairman and Former Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, R-Wis., brought his FY 2015 federal budget proposal to the floor this week where the House quickly approved the measure. Ryan’s budget is unlikely to be enacted, but the policies it puts forward provide a glimpse into possible future action from House Republicans. Among the provisions, Ryan’s budget would implement House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s, R-Texas, Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act that would eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Government’s role in mortgage finance. 

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