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December 5, 2014
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Lame-Duck is Anything But, Key Multifamily Issues on Tap

Copyright: Brandon Bourdages
Tensions were running high this week in Congress as GOP leaders struggled to find a way to grapple with President Obama’s executive order on immigration amnesty. With just a few weeks left before the end of the year, the current lame-duck session presents the first test for the incoming Republican majority since Election Day.

However, it is still business as usual on Capitol Hill as the President’s action on immigration, and the Republicans’ internal squabbling on how to show their displeasure, signals that Washington’s games will continue up until the 114th Congress.  But the question is, can Washington break its usual gridlock and get things done before the clock literally runs out? NMHC/NAA are continuing to advocate for the key multifamily industry issues on the table before that proverbial clock strikes midnight.

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NMHC and NAA Weigh-In on Disparate Impact Case

Copyright: Brandon Bourdages

NMHC/NAA and six other real estate trade associations jointly submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court last week for a case that is anticipated to finally determine what constitutes discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Scheduled to begin oral arguments on January 21 of next year, this case calls into question the lawfulness of a Texas agency’s allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

Specifically, it originated when the Inclusive Communities Project, a Dallas-based group that advocates for integrated housing, sued the Texas Department of Housing alleging they were discriminating against minority populations.

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NMHC Insider
House Passes Expired Tax Provisions Bill Beneficial to Multifamily
The House passed a bill on December 3 that would provide a one-year extension, through 2014, of expired tax provisions. Several of the provisions in the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771), including those providing incentives for investment, construction of low-income housing, and energy-efficiency, are beneficial to the multifamily industry. The one-year extension of these provisions means they will once again lapse at the end of 2014, forcing Congress to revisit them in 2015.
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Congress Works to Negotiate Federal Budget, Avoid Shutdown

With just days left before a potential government shutdown on December 11, Congress seems to have reached a tentative budget agreement.  Negotiations were placed briefly at-risk by President Obama’s executive action on immigration last month, but this week leaders from both parties and Chambers signaled a path forward for funding the Federal Government. Speaker Boehner, under pressure from conservatives in his party, has developed a plan that enables GOP members to voice their frustration over the executive action without derailing the funding bill overall.

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Defense Bill Makes Modest Changes to Military Housing Benefit

This week, Congress reached an agreement on the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one of the last must-pass measures of the current lame-duck session. The bill has been long-delayed by deep divides between the House and Senate measures, including proposed changes that would increase the out-of-pocket housing expenses for one million troops and impact apartment communities that serve the military.

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HUD Releases Section 8 Project-Based Preservation Guidance

HUD recently released standards for transferring budget authority for Project-Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts that represent written agreements between public housing authorities and multifamily properties. The department’s related guidance is an important step towards providing a tool for preserving affordable properties that are beyond restoration, as well as allowing new construction in some cases.

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Industry Reminds Congress to Preserve Rural Rental Housing

As Congress mulls over how to proceed on funding for FY 2015, the real estate industry continues to reach out to the Hill to encourage preservation of rural housing programs contained in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies spending bills.  In July, the multifamily industry alerted Congress that certain provisions included in Congressional and Administration proposals would have a negative impact on affordable rural rental housing.

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Hill Watch
Senate Subcommittee Hearing on "Inequality, Opportunity, and the Housing Market," Tues., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.
Senate Committee Hearing on "Cybersecurity: Enhancing Coordination to Protect the Financial Sector," Wed., Dec. 10, 10 a.m.
House Subcommittee Hearing on Oversight for the FCC Focusing on Net Neutrality Rules, Wed., Dec. 10, Time To Be Determined
Media Roundup
Reid to Senators: Brace for a Long Week
The Hill
Hensarling, Schumer Near Deal on Terrorism Insurance
National Journal
House Eyes Terror Insurance Vote as Negotiators Near Agreement
Roll Call
From Daryl Carter: New York Times Editorial
NMHC Chairman
The Five Battlefronts in Republicans' War on the EPA
New Republic
U.S. Says Legislation Needed to End Stewardship of Mortgage Firms
Mitch McConnell 'Perplexed' by President Obama
The Scoop


Yet another government buzzword was coined this week in Washington. The word combines the budget terms Continuing Resolution, or “CR,” with “omnibus.” It was conceived from GOP infighting on how to avoid a government shutdown while at the same time showing their displeasure for President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Enter “CRomnibus” – meaning the federal government would be funded through the end of Fiscal Year 2015 in September by an omnibus budget package, except for the immigration authorities, which would get their funding from a temporary, or three-month, CR.

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