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July 14, 2017
Apartment Industry Makes Its Case to Senate Finance
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Copyright: MH Anderson Photography

NMHC/NAA again took the opportunity to inform the Senate Finance Committee of the multifamily industry’s tax reform priorities. In mid-July, the industry submitted comments in response to a request from Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for stakeholder input on tax reform.

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Senate Kicks Off Hearings on Housing Finance Reform

Copyright: Olga Kashubin

Housing finance reform was front and center as the Senate Banking Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, kicked off what may be a series of hearings on the topic. NMHC and NAA issued a letter to the Committee supporting their initiative and citing the importance of including multifamily in its work on housing finance reform. As lawmakers continue to debate housing finance reform, NMHC will work with our allies in Congress to help craft proposals that protect and promote multifamily housing.

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NMHC Insider
This Week in Washington

With healthcare reform stalled and a lack of Administration nominees creating a backlog in the Senate agenda, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the Senate would work two extra weeks into the August recess to try and clear the slate before the heavy lifts of tax reform legislation, an  infrastructure package, passing a budget resolution to avoid a government shutdown in September, and raising the debt ceiling. As of now, it is unclear as to whether Speaker Ryan will follow suit. With less than a dozen legislative days before the House leaves for August, Congress has much to do and little time to do it.

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APARTMENT SUPPLY SHORTAGE
NMHC/NAA Launch Campaign to Meet Future Apartment Demand

Four years ago, we launched a first-of-its-kind public relations campaign aimed to educate federal, state and local policymakers about the economic value of apartments. The centerpiece of the award-winning campaign was the dynamic WeAreApartments.org website.

This unique, interactive site quickly became a go-to resource for apartment executives everywhere, providing critical information and useful tools for communicating the benefits of building and operating apartment communities at the local, state and national level.

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CAPITAL MARKETS AND LIQUIDITY AND HOUSING FINANCE REFORM
FHFA Issues Housing Goals for 2018-2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has issued proposed housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) covering the period 2018 through 2020.  The current housing goals expire at the end of 2017 and the new proposed goals that would begin in 2018 are open for comment over the next 60 days. 

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COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS AND LABOR POLICY AND UNIONIZATION
House Committee Rules Against Joint Employer Rule

The House Appropriations Committee on July 12 released its draft Fiscal Year 2018 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill with a policy rider that would deny the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) the ability to enforce or litigate its so-called joint employer rule. The NLRB’s new standard could potentially make apartment firms liable for the actions of their subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and temporary staff. Importantly, this definition requires joint employers to negotiate with any union representing the jointly employed workers and share liability for National Labor Relations Act violations. This could mean forcing an apartment firm to pay fines for employees of suppliers who violate federal labor laws.

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ESTATE TAX
Treasury Signal Estate Tax Regulations Could be Rescinded or Modified

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department identified controversial estate tax regulations proposed in 2016 as burdensome and eligible to be substantially modified or repealed. The proposed estate tax regulations target intra-family transfers and valuation discounts that result from lapsing rights and restrictions on liquidations. The regulations would limit valuation discounts – resulting in greater estate tax liability for closely held family businesses, as well as imposing new risks on the continuity of family-owned real estate businesses. In addition to threatening the transfer of family-owned businesses from one generation to the next, the regulations would impair the job creation and economic growth driven by these businesses.

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LABOR POLICY AND UNIONIZATION
House Committee Votes to Overturn Ambush Election Rule

NMHC/NAA on June 29 congratulated the House Education and the Workforce Committee for approving legislation to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) so-called “ambush” election rule. The rule took effect in 2015 and shortens the period of time between a union filing a petition for election and the election itself to as few as two weeks – down from an average 38 days. This would deny multifamily employers due process rights and the ability to communicate with their employees before an election.

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LABOR POLICY AND UNIONIZATION
Good News on DOL's Over Time Rule

The Trump Administration signaled in late June its opposition to the Department of Labor’s overtime regulation and asked a Federal appeals court to rule it could use salary levels to set a lower threshold.

NMHC/NAA continue to monitor the status of the Labor Department’s overtime rule that sought to lift the overtime pay threshold from $23,600 to $47,476. The rule, which was set to take effect in December 2016, is not operational due to a Federal judicial injunction. Notably, during his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta indicated a threshold of around $33,000 might be appropriate. The Department is expected to seek public input in the future if it moves forward with a change.

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HUD Releases Positive Revisions to FMR and SAFMR Standards

Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are set annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and vary based on a number of factors such as local housing supply and demand, local economic conditions and the size of apartment unit and, for the most part, FMRs are set at the metro or county level.

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DOMEST VIOLENCE VICTIMS VAWA
New VAWA Guidance Released

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Multifamily Housing issued additional guidance on June 30, 2017, for Multifamily Owners and Managers regarding implementation of the 2013 “Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).”  On November 16, 2016, HUD had published a final rule to fully implement the requirements of the 2013 Act. The rule prohibits housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a victim. 

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Upcoming Meetings

 
 
 
Hill Watch
Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on How Tax Reform Will Simplify Our Broken Tax Code and Help Individuals and Families
Senate Finance Hearing on Comprehensive Tax Reform: Prospects and Challenges
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Hearing on Housing Finance Reform: Maintaining Access for Small Lenders
Media Roundup
Companies Have Big Plans for Trillions in Overseas Cash - If Tax Reform Ever Happens
CNBC
Tax Reform Will Happen This Year: Rep. Kevin Brady
Fox Business
Congress Weighs Tax Reforms for Small Businesses
Accounting Today
'If Not Now, When?' Fed's Powell on GSE Reform
National Mortgage News
Experts Weigh In: Is American Housing Policy at a Historic Crossroads?
Housing Wire
The Scoop

McConnell Delays Start of Recess Until Third Week in August

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the start of the August Senate recess until the third week in August in order to allow more time for his conference to complete "its work on health care reform" among other tasks.

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