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September 25, 2015
NMHC Fall Meeting Gets Down to Multifamily Business
Sponsored by

 
NMHC Chairman Carter and Senate Majority Leader McConnell

From the nation’s most influential lawmakers and speakers, to some of the hottest legislative issues facing the multifamily industry like housing finance and tax reform, last week’s 2015 NMHC Fall Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Meeting lived up to its reputation as a must-attend event. The exclusive meeting was held in the heart of Washington, DC’s Georgetown neighborhood at The Fairmont Hotel.
 
Highlights included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who addressed the standing room only Capitol Hill Luncheon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senator McConnell was joined by other top legislators in discussing key multifamily issues like policies and legislation focused on cutting through the burdensome regulatory environment and the chances for the first comprehensive reform of the tax code since 1986. But all the speakers agreed that tax reform will be punted further down the road because, in part, of sharp divisions between Congress and the Administration.

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Congress Scrambles to Avoid Government Shutdown

Copyright: Orhan Cam
A date Congressional leaders have known was coming all year is quickly approaching, and with September 30 just a week away, members in both the Senate and House chambers are desperate to avoid another government shutdown like the one in 2013. After months of discussions and back channel negotiations through August and early September, the Senate decided to move forward on Thursday.
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NMHC Insider
CAPITAL MARKETS
Industry Asks FHFA to Remove GSE Multifamily Production Cap
NMHC/NAA are urging Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt to consider removing the multifamily production cap on the Government-Sponsored Enterprises’ (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, purchases from the 2016 GSE Scorecard. Some form of the production cap has been in place since 2012 and we have expressed our opposition every year.
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TAXES
Bonus Depreciation on Fast Track, Tax Extenders on Hold
The annual debate and process to extend a number of temporary tax provisions of interest to the multifamily industry continues. But no resolution is likely until later this fall. Specifically, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation on September 17 to make permanent one of these so-called tax extenders – bonus depreciation. It allows multifamily firms to expense 50 percent of the cost of a qualifying investment in the year it was purchased.
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GSEs
Proposed CEO Pay Increases at GSEs Raise Eyebrows and Bills
On September 15, the Senate unanimously passed a bill co-authored by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would effectively block recent executive pay increases at the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The raises were proposed by Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt this summer. This immediately raised eyebrows in Washington because the pay increases only applied to the GSEs Chief Executives.
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LABOR
Industry Fights Expansion of Employer Responsibility for Joint Employees
NMHC/NAA joined a coalition gathering support for a letter requesting that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturn its recent decision to expand the definition of a joint employer. This is when the supervision of an employee’s activity is shared between two or more businesses. The decision could have a significant impact on multifamily firms who may become liable for the actions of subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and temporary staff. That’s because joint employers are required to negotiate with any union representing the jointly employed workers and share liability for National Labor Relations Act violations.
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FINANCE
EB-5 Extension Strategically Tied to Government Funding
The Senate included a provision to extend the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in its recently released Continuing Resolution government funding measure. Many see this as the culmination of more than a year of advocacy work. The EB-5 “Jobs for U.S. Visa” program is an important source of investment in commercial real estate projects including multifamily. The program allows a foreign investor, and his or her family, to obtain a U.S. green card by making an investment in a capital project that results in the creation of permanent jobs.
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TAX RATES
Carried Interest Wave Hits Washington
The battle over carried interest is heating up again in Washington. In a speech to the Business Roundtable on September 16, President Obama repeated his long-time call for carried interest to be taxed at ordinary income rates of up to 39.6 percent – instead of at current-law capital gains rates that go up to 20 percent. On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Donald Trump have also endorsed the move. But the multifamily industry continues to strongly and effectively oppose any proposals to change the tax treatment of carried interest.
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FLOOD RISK
Amendment Focused on Mitigating Flood Risk at Multifamily Properties
On September 10, Representative Dan Donovan (R-NY) offered a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) related amendment during the relevant House subcommittee’s markup of the overall Homeland Security Authorization bill. The amendment passed with no opposition and would go to great lengths in assisting multifamily owners in preparing and mitigating against future flood risks. It also seeks to address many of the criticisms of the agency’s handling of the claims process in New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
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NMHC PAC
NMHC's Personal Dollar Campaign Heats Up!
Momentum is building for the upcoming NMHC Personal Dollar Campaign events as we start heading into a busy elections cycle.
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing on United States Cybersecurity Policy and Threats, Tues., Sept. 29 at 9:30 a.m.
House Committee Hearing on the Semi-Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Tues., Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.
Senate Subcommittee Hearing Entitled "Prudent Planning or Wasteful Binge?", Wed., Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m.
Media Roundup
Pope Francis Electrifies Congress with Speech Laying Out Bold Vision for US
The Guardian
Basking in Pope's Glow, Catholics Biden, Boehner Face Tough Decisions
Washington Post
McConnell Makes First Move to Avoid Shutdown
Politico
Will Obama and China's Xi Strike a Deal on Cyber?
Washington Examiner
Senate Dem Seeks New Momentum for Postal Reform
The Hill
Hotel Workers in D.C. Propose Some of the Strictest Airbnb Regulations in the Country
Washington Post
Hitting GOP, Senate Dems Unveil Plan for a "Clean Energy Future"
The Hill
The Scoop

The Vatican: One of the World’s Top Three Landowners

Real estate is one thing the Catholic Church has a lot of, but just how much it owns is under wraps because it’s protected as a religious institution. What we do know is that the Vatican is one of the world’s top landowners, behind only King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Queen Elizabeth II.

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