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May 30, 2014
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Chambers Differ on Military Housing Benefit, House Defies President

Copyright: Felix Mizioznikov

The Senate was out this week for its Memorial Day recess while the House continued to work in Washington on a variety of issues, including mapping out the federal budget for FY 2015. Few spending bills have been more controversial than that of the Department of Defense (DoD), which over the past several years has focused on dramatically reducing military spending as a result of the sequestration. However, most agree that our men and women in uniform, and their families, should not bear the brunt of these cuts through reductions in their pay and benefits.

The House openly defied the Obama Administration’s plans to roll back military compensation this week by broadly rejecting the DoD proposal to slow the growth of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – a vital military housing benefit – in its defense spending bill.  This move by the House is notably different from the Senate’s legislation, which would move forward with changes to the program, limiting increases to below the rate of inflation

A BAH reduction could seriously jeopardize military housing by increasing out-of-pocket costs for service members, and negatively impact housing options and real estate investments serving the military. Ultimately, the House bill deferred consideration of compensation matters until a related comprehensive review is completed in February 2015. NMHC/NAA were successful in including language calling specific attention to the impacts on the BAH in this review process.  

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NMHC Insider
House Moves Bonus Depreciation, Senate Works to End Tax Extenders Logjam

As part of ongoing efforts to address expired tax provisions, the House Ways and Means Committee on May 29 approved legislation (H.R. 4718) to make permanent so-called bonus depreciation. The measure allows firms, including multifamily operators, to immediately deduct 50 percent of new equipment purchases as opposed to having to depreciate the entire expense over a period of years.  The bonus depreciation legislation now joins other tax extenders awaiting action by the full House.

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American Community Survey Funding and Reliability in Jeopardy

On May 30, the full House approved the U.S. Census Bureau’s FY 2015 budget, which reduces the necessary funding levels for both 2020 Census planning and the administration of the annual American Community Survey (ACS).  NMHC/NAA use data from both surveys for numerous purposes, including estimating the economic impact of the apartment industry, as well as providing members with the latest data about the industry.

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2014 Primaries and Runoff Elections: Support Senator Thad Cochran on June 3

It is an important election year and we are calling on you to help get out the vote!  This week, we are asking members to support our champion in Mississippi, Republican Senator Thad Cochran for a primary day victory on June 3. Cochran is a senior member of the appropriations committee, as well as a pro-business member of the Senate that understands the issues of the multifamily industry. He is facing a challenge from Tea Party candidate, State Senator Chris McDaniel. NMHC PAC has supported his reelection campaign. For a full list of all Republican and Democratic primary and runoff election dates, please click here.

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Hill Watch
House Committee Hearing on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014, Tues., June 3
Senate Subcommittee Markup of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, Tues., June 3
Senate Full Committee Markup of THUD and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, Thurs., June 5
Media Roundup
Cities Rethink Tough-on-Crime Strategies Banning Criminal Offenders from Public Housing
Wall Street Journal
HUD Nominee Julian Castro's Rise No Surprise to Texas Pals
CNN Politics
Small Business Owners: New Water Rules Will Drown My Company in Regulations
Washington Post
Housing Finance Reform Should Now Focus on Fixing and Preserving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Huff Post Politics
Hope for Housing Finance Reform?
The Hill
Nobody is Neutral When It Comes to Net Neutrality
Scientific American
Schumer: House GOP 'Out of Excuses' on Immigration Reform
The Hill
The Scoop

Schoolhouse Rock: Here's How a Bill REALLY Becomes Law...Pure Luck

Many of us grew up watching Schoolhouse Rock on Saturday mornings.  A favorite was always the lesson on "How a Bill Becomes Law." Now, however, this classic programming has been updated to reflect the modern dysfunction of Congress. Specifically, of the more than 7,000 bills and joint resolutions introduced during the current Congress, just over 100 have become law, giving a bill the chance of slightly more than 1 percent of actually becoming a law.  That’s less than, at this point, any other Congress since at least the 1970s.  Watch the Modern “How a Bill Becomes a Law”

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