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July 25, 2014
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Election Watch

Apartment Industry Hosts Military Housing "Fly-In" Lobby Day

Copyright: Chris Parypa Photography

Members of NMHC/NAA who develop, own and operate privatized military housing hosted a legislative “fly-in” lobby day on July 24. The companies’ representatives met with key congressional offices, specifically members of the Senate and House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees to raise concerns about a proposed reduction to the Department of Defense’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) benefit in the Senate version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Meetings were held with the congressional staff of 11 Senate offices – including Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Tim Kaine, D-Va. – about the proposal that would increase out-of-pocket housing expenses for one million troops and impact communities serving the military.

The BAH is a key component critical to the sustainability of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, which has successfully transitioned a large portion of severely-deficient government-run housing into high-quality, privately-owned and operated properties. These partnerships are 50 year deals that are largely dependent on a BAH that is linked to market rate rents, and not arbitrary reductions that jeopardize the continued success of the program.

Specifically, NMHC/NAA asked Congress to adopt the House passed NDAA, which rejected changes to housing benefits until the findings and recommendations of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission are completed in February 2015. 

Given the short legislative calendar remaining in this Congress, the timing and ultimate outcome of Senate action remains uncertain. However, it is critically important to make lawmakers aware of this issue to ensure a favorable outcome for the future of the BAH program and the continued benefit of our service members.


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NMHC Insider
HUD Secretary Highlights Rental Housing at White House Event Celebrating FHA's 80th Anniversary

On July 11, the White House held an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which opened with a speech by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  In his last public address before he moves over to head the Office of Management and Budget, Donovan made key references to the growing importance of rental housing in today’s market, and the role FHA plays as a critical source of financing during both stable and unstable periods in the market.

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House Bill Would Lift LIHPRHA Limits on Accessing Cash Reserves

The House introduced a bill (H.R. 4146) recently that provides technical changes to the “Low Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990” or LIHPRHA, which was first enacted to provide multifamily property owners with incentives to maintain affordability for low- and moderate-income renters. Currently, as part of LIHPRHA, there is a limit placed on an owners’ ability to access a portion of surplus cash in reserves. The bill would remove this limitation, encouraging owners to, in part, invest in and extend the useful life of affordable properties.

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House Passes Bill That Would Renew Satellite TV Laws for Five Years

The House passed legislation (H.R. 4572) on July 22 reauthorizing satellite TV operators to provide broadcast network stations to about 1.5 million “unserved” and mainly rural households, including those living in apartment communities. Federal law determines whether satellite providers like DIRECTV and the DISH Network may offer broadcast network programming. The current satellite TV license is set to expire on December 31.

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Election Watch
NMHC Leaders Mutz and Neithercut Host Luncheon in Chicago

Two leaders in the real estate industry, AMLI Residential Chairman and CEO Greg Mutz and Equity Residential President and CEO David Neithercut, hosted a luncheon in Chicago on July 22 that included nearly two dozen high-level industry executives.

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Hill Watch
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The Scoop

EPA’s Office of Water "Tweets" About Kim Kardashian Online Game
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water recently tweeted about the online game “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” where players walk red carpets and attend photo shoots. The agency said that an intern was responsible for the tweet.

The tweet was quickly deleted, but not before Representative John Dingell’s, D-Mich., twitter account responded with a tweet asking what a Kardashian is.  Dingell is 88-years-old and co-author of the Clean Water Act.  Another tweet from Dingell’s account the next day said “Staff has now informed me of what a Kardashian is. I’m only left with more questions.”

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