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September 12, 2014
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Election Watch

Congress "Must Dos" Before the Elections

Copyright: Bahri Altay

Lawmakers returned to Washington last week after the five-week August recess to begin what will be a brief fall session broken into two parts to accommodate the campaign season as the midterm elections near.  So with just two- to three-weeks to work with before lawmakers depart, Senate and House leaders are clearly using this month to improve the chances of vulnerable candidates before the November elections. 

First Things, First

The agendas for both House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., include passing a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2015 to keep the federal government running after the current fiscal year ends on September 30.  Lawmakers must pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government operational or they risk last year’s debacle that resulted in plummeting approval ratings, something they definitely do not want with Election Day approaching.

House Republican leaders announced this week that they would postpone consideration of the resolution due to President Obama’s request that the House include $500 million in the continuing resolution to deal with ISIS. As a result, next week House leaders are expected to send their continuing resolution to the Rules Committee on Monday and to schedule floor action on Tuesday.

Votes Matter

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., let lawmakers know via memo in August that after the recess they would vote on a package of jobs bills, on making permanent a series of tax provisions, as well as on a consolidated energy package.  “It is time to hold Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats accountable for their refusal to support lower energy prices and American job creation,” said McCarthy in the memo.

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In Focus: Multifamily Legislative Outlook

Copyright: Sam72

We are continuing to push for positive movement on key issues impacting the industry, including potential Senate action on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule.  The House voted this week to approve a bill that would block the agency’s rule (see the below “NMHC Insider” section for all the details).  Under the rule, permitting requirements and associated costs for multifamily owners and developers would significantly increase.

In addition, as we reported, Congress left for the August recess without reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) due to a division among House Republicans over their chamber’s bill that is stalling further action. NMHC/NAA joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a letter to the House urging swift action on passage of TRIA. The deadline for signatures was last week and the final letter was sent to the House this week. If the program is allowed to expire, multifamily owners will most likely face significant cost increases and development will slow triggering severe economic instability.

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NMHC Insider
House Vote Would Sink EPA Water Rule

The House voted 262-152 to approve a bill (H.R. 5078) on September 9 that would block the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule to expand the scope of waters subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. Under the rule, permitting requirements and associated costs for multifamily owners and developers would significantly increase without necessarily resulting in improved water quality. 

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HUD Announces Multifamily Field Office Consolidations

On September 10, HUD made public the latest steps in its previously announced multifamily reorganization initiative for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), namely the consolidation of seven of its multifamily field offices into one Midwest Region.  The agency also released the new procedures for loan production in this region. FHA’s multifamily field offices provide mortgage insurance to HUD-approved lenders, facilitate housing projects and administer rental assistance programs. 

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Freddie Mac Completes First Direct Purchase of Tax Exempt Loan

Freddie Mac recently announced the completion of the first direct purchase of a tax exempt loan under a new program they announced in April 2014. The $14.9 million loan helped fund the rehabilitation of an affordable senior housing community located in Dayton, Ohio. The overall benefit of the program is a simplified process for owners to receive funding for their project, as well as a reduction in cost that flows directly to the borrower.

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Election Watch
The Primary Season is Over, Game On

Voters in five states headed to the polls for primary elections on Tuesday, completing the process of nominating candidates for major offices in 2014...

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Hill Watch
House Committee Hearing Entitled "The Administration's Climate Plan: Failure by Design," Wed., Sept. 17, 10 a.m.
Senate Committee Hearing on Reforming America's Outdated Energy Tax Code, Wed., Sept. 17, 10:15 a.m.
House Committee Hearing Entitled "Is the Federal Communications Commission Responding to the Needs of Small Business and Rural America?," Wed., Sept. 17, 1 p.m.
Media Roundup
Congress is Back. Is Another Government Shutdown Coming?
The New Republic
Cruz to House GOP: Punt Spending Debate Into 2015
Roll Call
Time for House to Pass the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act
The Hill
Reform and Renew Terrorism Risk Insurance
The Hill
6 Questions for Ed DeMarco, the Former Regulator of Fannie, Freddie
Will GOP Control of the Senate Affect Energy Policy?
The Hill
The Scoop

Forget “Big Brother,” New Reality Show Will Feature Rival Senators Stranded on Remote Island

A new Discovery Channel program called ""Rival Survival" will focus on Republican and Democratic politicians who put their differences aside for six days to survive on the remote island of Eru known for its shark-infested waters (they should feel right at home after working in Washington). Senators Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., will be featured and, get this, it was their idea. The show was shot during the August congressional recess and premieres October 29 – one week before Election Day. Read More

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