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May 15, 2015
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Multifamily Capital to Keep Flowing

Copyright: Iculig
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on May 7 that they are revising and expanding the definition of the affordable multifamily loans that are excluded from the $30 billion multifamily lending caps imposed on both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Although the caps will remain unchanged, the excluded loans will provide more lending capacity to the multifamily market through 2015. FHFA’s decision was based on concern expressed by our industry about keeping capital flowing to the multifamily market, which has seen significant growth this year.

NMHC/NAA recently met with FHFA Director Mel Watt at our request. We highlighted the overall strength of the industry and the need for a diverse capital base to effectively serve the needs that the broad multifamily market demands. We quickly followed up with a letter to FHFA on April 29 reemphasizing our concerns.
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NMHC Insider
Senate Bill Offers Sweeping Changes to U.S. Financial Regulations
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the Senate Banking Committee, released a “work in progress” draft of the “Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015” on May 12. The draft bill changes a number of provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, takes baby steps towards legislation that addresses reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs), and increases oversight of the Federal Reserve. Although sweeping in nature, the bill appears to have no provisions that directly impact the multifamily industry.
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Budget Winners and Losers in the $55B House THUD Bill
The House Appropriations Committee passed the more than $55 billion FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bill on May 13.  The bill falls $1.5 billion short of what HUD has said it needs to maintain current programs and is nearly $10 billion less than President Obama’s budget request. Ultimately, with a recently agreed to Budget Resolution between the House and Senate dictating funding levels for all federal agencies, HUD’s multifamily programs were not spared from certain cuts.
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House Rejects Bid to Cut Core Military Housing Benefit
Today the House passed the annual “National Defense Authorization Act,” rejecting a Department of Defense proposal to cut back the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The BAH is a core military benefit that compensates service members for their housing costs and a cut could jeopardize the continued success of the privatized military housing program.
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Industry Weighs-In on New Floodplain Management Standard
President Obama issued an Executive Order in January that establishes a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard.  As we reported, the new standard expands the definition of “floodplain” from the well-established 100 year flood elevation to the 500 year flood elevation, potentially impacting new construction and substantial rehabilitation of apartment properties.  NMHC/NAA submitted related comments on May 6.
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EPA Water Rule Inches Closer to Possible Withdrawal
The House passed the “Regulatory Integrity and Protection Act” on May 12, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps to withdraw their “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) proposed rule. The current proposal is so overly broad that even artificial ponds and ditches would be federally regulated. This would dramatically expand the number of developers subject to federal permitting requirements.
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Senate Tables Plan to Override Veto of "Ambush" Election Rule
On May 5, the Senate tabled and effectively abandoned an attempt to override President Obama's veto of legislation to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s “ambush” election rule. The shortened period provided by the rule would deny multifamily employers due process rights and the ability to communicate with their employees before an election.
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Senators Work to Make Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Stick
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced legislation on May 5 to make the flat 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) permanent. The bill would also treat the 4 percent LIHTC for acquisitions the same way. The program leverages federal dollars with private investment to help finance affordable housing projects nationwide.
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Coalition Gives Rural Rental Housing Budget a Push
Lawmakers are now considering a range of FY 2016 budget bills for Federal Government agencies and departments as part of the appropriations process. Although HUD funding is at the top of the priority list for the multifamily industry, another area of focus is the budget for multifamily rental assistance programs at the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service.
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Upcoming 2015 LOCUS National Leadership Summit on Smart Growth
Have you registered for the 2015 LOCUS National Leadership Summit from June 2-3 in Washington, DC? The LOCUS Leadership Summit is the premier conference where smart growth deals are made. The summit convenes leading real estate industry figures with top public officials to facilitate high-level advocacy, networking and deal making. This year’s summit will also include a private-sector led discussion on the most provocative issues facing smart growth real estate developers today.
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It's True - Congress is Actually Working!
Congress is working again. It’s negotiating deals, voting on amendments; and, yes, actually compromising on serious issues. They have negotiated a “doc fix” on how Medicare reimburses doctors, they are moving forward with passing the Federal Budget for FY 2016, and just last night a trade bill cleared a major hurdle when it passed the Senate by a solid vote of 65 -33.
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing on "The Federal Water Quality Protection Act," Tues., May 19 at 10 a.m.
Senate Committee Hearing on "Oversight of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Examining EEOC's Enforcement and Litigation Programs," Tues., May 19 at 10 a.m.
House Subcommittee Hearing on the "Improving Capital Access Programs Within the SBA," Tues., May 19 at 10 a.m.
House Subcommittee Hearing on "The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Rural Housing Service," Tues., May 19 at 10 a.m.
House Committee Hearing on "Protecting Critical Infrastructure: How the Financial Sector Addresses Cyber Threats," Tues., May 19 at 1 p.m.
Media Roundup
Democrats Greet Shelby Banking Bill with Skepticism
Wall Street Journal
The End of Fannie and Freddie
Senate Panel Launches Energy Reform Effort
The Hill
New NRDC Study Highlights Huge Potential for Energy Efficiency in Affordable Multifamily Housing
Blue Green Alliance
Fannie Mae Accused of Widespread Racial Discrimination
Housing Wire
Christie Lays Out Tax Reform Plan Ahead of New Hampshire Speech
CNN Politics
The Scoop

What Will Ex-President Obama Be Doing in 2017?

President Obama announced Tuesday that his presidential library will be located on the South Side of Chicago and hosted by the University of Chicago. The decision raised other questions about what the future holds for the First Family post-January 20, 2017. Obama will no doubt go on to do, in part, what other ex-Presidents do – make oodles of cash on the speakers’ circuit.  But where will he choose to live after the White House? And what are the issues he will focus on? The Washington Post helped us get a glimpse this week of what we might expect from ex-President Obama.

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