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September 26, 2014
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Election Watch

Lame-Duck Could Have Broad Industry Impacts

Copyright: Orhan Cam

Washington has been quiet this week with Congress leaving town so lawmakers can campaign for the midterm elections.  The House and Senate are scheduled to return on November 12 for the lame-duck session. Congress will then be faced with an agenda filled with must-pass items that could broadly impact the multifamily industry.

Specifically, the government is currently operating under a continuing resolution that funds executive departments and agencies through December 11.  Legislation must be enacted to fund the government through the remainder of FY 2015 and to avoid a government-wide shutdown. This could be accomplished through a continuing resolution that funds the government at last year’s levels, or as part of an omnibus appropriations package that funds individual programs on a government-wide basis. 

Congress is also likely to extend several dozen expired tax provisions. While most, if not all, are expected to be renewed for two years, through 2015, the House is angling to make several permanent. A final bill has yet to take shape, but the multifamily industry could benefit from a renewal of several provisions, including bonus depreciation, small business expensing, the flat 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction and the Energy-Efficient New Homes Tax Credit. 

In addition, insurance industry experts are reporting that the pricing and availability of terrorism insurance is tightening given the uncertainty of congressional action to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The Senate-passed bill and House Financial Services Committee-passed bill differ in many key areas such as duration and program triggers. One of two scenarios are likely during the lame-duck session – either the House and Senate agree to a comprehensive long-term reauthorization, or a short term extension is enacted, bumping  full consideration of reauthorization into the next Congress.

NMHC/NAA, along with our industry partners, will continue to advocate for the House to enact a long-term reauthorization of the program because a short-term resolution does not provide market certainty.  Our related advocacy efforts will include a media campaign, grassroots lobbying, and a member fly-in to reinforce industry’s position.

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NMHC Insider
Check It Out! NMHC 2014 Fall Board Meeting Recap and Highlights

As we reported, NMHC’s fall board meeting last week included meetings with key Obama Administration officials and our annual Capitol Hill luncheon featuring an all-star lineup of influential lawmakers. We have prepared a full recap, meeting highlights and more!

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Preserving Multifamily Housing Act Introduced in House

Ranking Member Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Preserving Multifamily Housing Act of 2014 (H.R. 5495) on September 16. The bill would prohibit the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) or other regulators from setting arbitrary limitations on the volume or scope of multifamily housing mortgages backed by Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its efforts to issue a proposed regulation to guide work practices during the renovation, repair, and painting of both public and commercial buildings.
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House Debates EEOC Criminal Background Checks and Transparency Practices

On September 17, the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) efforts to enforce its policy on criminal background checks, as well as legislative proposals to increase transparency of the agency’s practices.  The EEOC’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance has been questioned because it may conflict with laws that, among other challenges, mandate criminal background checks. 

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Election Watch
In-Depth: What Could the New Congress Look Like?

After the November elections, lawmakers will be selecting key committee leaders who will shape the 114th Congress that convenes in January – leaders that will be instrumental in addressing multifamily related issues, including housing finance, tax and immigration reform.

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New “Bravo” Show on Lobbyists? Nope.

Name dropping in Washington seems to include large and popular Hollywood networks now. Turns out that although a local lobbyist and his friends say they are being followed around town by cameras for a new “Bravo” show called “Wicked Politics,” network insiders said they’ve never heard of it. Read More

**Please note: Multifamily Markup will be on hiatus next week due to the congressional recess.

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