In two recent Congressional hearings, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) received positive mentions and comments of bipartisan support from various members of Congress. The hearings were hosted by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, which have jurisdiction over the Housing Credit. These hearings were intended to elevate affordable housing issues during a time when legislation to expand affordable housing supply, which has strong support of the Chairmen of both committees, remains stalled.
Both hearings focused on addressing the affordable housing crisis in light of inflation, rising construction costs, lack of housing supply, and other key issues impacting the availability of affordable housing.
Senate Finance Committee Hearing: The Role of Tax Incentives in Affordable Housing
Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on “The Role of Tax Incentives in Affordable Housing,” during which various positive mentions of the Housing Credit and the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) were raised by witnesses and members of Congress. Remarks and questions during the hearing had a strong focus on the key role of bipartisanship in supporting legislation to address the affordable housing crisis.
Notably, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), who is a lead co-sponsor of the AHCIA, asked which witnesses supported the passage of provisions in the AHCIA, and in response all five witnesses raised their hands. Four of the five witnesses also mentioned in their remarks the importance of the Housing Credit and urged passage of the AHCIA, while also specifically mentioning the need for increasing the Housing Credit allocation and reducing the bond-financing threshold. Two of these witnesses were representatives of AHTCC member organizations: Buzz Roberts, President & CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders and Jerry Konter, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Homebuilders.
The other witnesses were Andrea Bell, Executive Director of Oregon Housing & Community Services; Dana Wade, Chief Production Officer of Real Estate Finance for Walker & Dunlop, MD, which is also affiliated with an AHTCC member; and Lee E. Ohanian, Ph.D., Hoover Institute Senior Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of California.
Several other members of the committee made positive mentions of the Housing Credit, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), AHCIA lead sponsor Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
House Ways and Means Committee: Nowhere to Live: Profits, Disinvestment, and The American Housing Crisis
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing called “Nowhere to Live: Profits, Disinvestment, and The American Housing Crisis,” in which several members of the committee raised their support for the Housing Credit, including Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), AHCIA lead sponsors Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Don Beyer (D-VA), and Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Brad Schneider (D-IL). The majority of questions from Republicans on the committee did not focus on specific housing programs, but rather on inflation and the Biden Administration and Democrats’ roles in high housing prices.
Audra Hamernik, President and CEO of Nevada HAND, an AHTCC member organization, served as one of the witnesses. Her remarks focused on the critical need for expansion of the Housing Credit as our main tool for increasing affordable housing supply and a key tenet of the affordable housing system, as well as the need to increase the Housing Credit allocation and reduce the bond-financing threshold.
The other witnesses were Dr. Elora Lee Raymond, Urban Planner and Assistant Professor in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College of Design at Georgia Tech; Dr. Akilah Watkins, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Community Progress; Dr. Christopher Herbert, Managing Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; and Edward J. Pinto, Senior Fellow and Director of the American Enterprise Institute Housing Center.