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April 22, 2016
Senate Passes Broad Energy Bill Impacting Multifamily
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Senator Rob Portman with NMHC Leaders
The Senate passed an important energy bill this week that includes key provisions that will directly impact the multifamily industry. Specifically, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act”, introduced last year by Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), is the culmination of a multi-year effort by NMHC and NAA to support building energy efficiency legislation. The bill includes improvements in federal involvement in the development of building codes that began with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the prior Congress.

A key part of Portman-Shaheen were Tenant Star bill provisions that were passed separately as standalone legislation. These provisions enable residential and commercial buildings to achieve an Energy Star rating. The remaining building energy provisions of Portman-Shaheen are now in this newly passed energy bill.
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NMHC Insider
WEBINAR
Join Us for a Fair Housing Webinar on April 28
On April 28, NMHC and NAA will host a webinar on our new white paper entitled, “Fair Housing: Familial Status and Occupancy,” from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. This in-depth white paper discusses fair housing protections for families and reviews seemingly routine business practices that could give rise to Fair Housing Act complaints. Mike Skojec, Partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, will provide insight into the white paper, including the areas most impacted by familial status claims such as amenity operations, leasing policies and safety rules.
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FHFA
Fannie, Freddie Actions Raise Eyebrows in Washington
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on April 18 to look into a series of recent decisions by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator. With their capital buffers scheduled to decline to zero by the end of next year, all Fannie and Freddie’s future profits will be swept to Treasury under the current bailout agreement – leaving a situation where a draw on Treasury becomes inevitable. Ultimately, the probe request by Senator Shelby is just one of numerous actions and news stories related to Fannie and Freddie that, as a whole, are raising eyebrows in Washington.
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AFFORDABLE HOUSING
HUD Issues Final Multifamily Mortgage Insurance Rates
On March 31, HUD issued the final rules cutting the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) multifamily mortgage insurance rates in order to spur the financing of affordable housing and energy-efficient apartments. The decision is anticipated to result in the rehabilitation of an additional 12,000 units of affordable housing each year. FHA’s multifamily programs account for 9.2 percent of the total multifamily mortgage market.
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PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Feeling the Housing Bern: Sanders is the Latest to Detail Platform
This week, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) released his agenda for housing policy as part of his presidential campaign. He joins a number of other candidates who have expressed views on the future of housing in America during the campaign. Senator Sanders focused on affordable housing challenges and barriers to homeownership, highlighting his support for the Housing Trust Fund, which will begin disbursing money for the first time this year after being signed into law in 2008. 
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FOREIGN INVESTMENT
Hill Interest in the EB-5 Program Ramps Up
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program remains a topic of debate in both the House and Senate. That’s because the program will require congressional action to reauthorize it before September 30 in order to avoid a program shutdown. The EB-5 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 jobs. It continues to be an important source of investor capital for the multifamily industry.
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CLEAN WATER ACT
Senate Vote to Throw Out Water Rule Amendment Fails
In a narrow vote of 56-42, the Senate failed to pass an amendment on April 21 that would have defunded the Obama Administration’s controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) federal rule in the more than $37 billion FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Funding Bill. Ultimately, the amendment’s defeat is likely to clinch the failure of the entire bill when it comes up for a vote next week. The WOTUS rule expands the definition of waters that are subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and is currently being litigated with a decision likely as early as this summer. Ultimately, expanding the scope of the Act would result in burdensome and costly federal regulatory requirements for the multifamily industry.
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FLOOD
House Likely to Pass Vital Flood Reforms Soon
On April 26, the full House is widely expected to pass the “Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act,” long called for by NMHC and NAA. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Representatives Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL), would expand flood insurance coverage options for at-risk property owners beyond the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to the private sector. Administered by FEMA, the program is facing financial challenges due to several catastrophic weather events, including Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
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CAPITAL MARKETS
CMBS Market Struggles with Regulation Burdens, Highly Volatile Markets
Beginning in the summer of 2015, the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) market ran into a headwind of interest rate volatility, commodity price collapse, investors unease and regulatory burdens. As a result, the new issuance volume for CMBS has slowed dramatically. Once estimated to top $100 billion in new issuance in 2016, the new forecasts are coming in as low as $40 billion. The market is clearly struggling to find firm ground on what has been an earthquake of challenges.
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OVERTIME
Industry Gets Behind Effort to Block President's Overtime Rule
NMHC and NAA expressed support for the “Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act” on April 18, which would block the Obama Administration’s proposed overtime rule. Introduced in both the Senate and House by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI), the bill would nullify the overtime rule proposal. The legislation would also require an economic analysis to be done before moving forward with a new rule. The rule would impact multifamily because overtime pay would be determined based only on employees falling below the proposal’s salary threshold.
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Hill Watch
Senate Committee Hearing Entitled, "Navigating Business Tax Reform," Tues., April 26 at 10 a.m.
Senate Committee Hearing Entitled, "Drowning in Regulations: The Waters of the U.S. Rule and the Case for Reforming the Regulatory Flexibility Act," Wed., April 27 at 10 a.m.
House Committee Hearing Entitled, "How Can the U.S. Make Development Banks More Accountable?," Wed., April 27 at 10 a.m.
Media Roundup
Sam Zell: Global Woes Will Likely Push U.S. Into Recession (*Mr. Zell will speak at NMHC's Spring Board Meeting.)
Wall Street Journal
Multifamily Dynamics Will Remain Strong Through 2016
Multifamily Executive
A Fair Chance After a Conviction
New York Times
The Neighborhood Veto and the "Missing Middle"
Planetizen
Documents Undercut U.S. Case for Taking Mortgage Giant Fannie Mae's Profits
New York Times
Is GSE Reform Hiding in Plain Sight?
Multifamily Executive
Regulators Warn 5 Top Banks They Are Still Too Big to Fail
Multifamily Executive
GAO: FHFA Should Have Oversight of Nonbank Mortgage Servicers
National Mortgage News
The Great Recession Blame Game
Wall Street Journal
Can Silly Patents Help Fight Frivolous Lawsuits?
NPR
Trump's Real Magic Number is Less Than 1,237
Politico
Hillary Clinton is Too Big to Fail
Roll Call
Cruz Can't Seal the Deal with GOP Colleagues
Politico
Upcoming Meetings
Don’t Miss NMHC’s Exclusive Spring Board Meeting May 18-20 in Chicago!

Register now for one of our most exclusive events of the year that brings together senior apartment executives from the industry’s leading firms. The 2016 NMHC Spring Board of Directors Meeting will be held from May 18 to 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago and the deadline to book a room is April 29. The Spring Board Meeting provides NMHC Executive Committee and Board members with an invaluable opportunity to candidly share information and insight on issues of common interest. Speakers at this must-attend event will include: CNN Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod; Equity Group Investments Chairman Sam Zell; Academic, Researcher, Writer and Entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa; and Former Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, Jr. There will also be informative panels on cybersecurity and on innovative business models for rental housing. The Spring Board Meeting is open to NMHC Executive Committee and Board of Directors members only.

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The Scoop

New Movie Focuses on History’s Most Bizarre White House Chat

A new movie debuting in theaters today, and starring Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon, focuses on one of the most bizarre Oval Office chats in history. The meeting was between a controversial president and, arguably, one of the biggest celebrities of all time – and resulted in the National Archives’ most requested image. Can you guess this infamous duo? Find out if you’re right below.

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