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What we can do to keep housing at the forefront

The tax bill currently in the House Ways and Means Committee is front and center right now. NHC members are unhappy with many features of it, for diverse (and sometimes conflicting) reasons. The proposed changes to the mortgage interest deduction seem designed to please only those outside of housing seeking revenue for other purposes. The proposed elimination of private activity bonds would devastate affordable housing and economic revitalization work nationwide. The proposed increase in deficits would make it even harder to fund the essential affordable housing work that is already under continual downward pressure. Republican leadership aims to move this quickly, so expect a lot of activity in a brief window.

At the same time, Congress is steadily inching toward a Dec. 8 deadline. Absent legislative action, the FY 2018 appropriations will expire, the debt ceiling will prevent further issuance of U.S. Treasury securities and the National Flood Insurance Program will lack legislative authority. That’s not to mention disaster response, pending appointees and other pressing issues.

Housing, for good or ill, is a small part of the legislative agenda, but nonetheless requires action by the Dec. 8 deadline. Appropriations action is needed for ongoing HUD, USDA and other housing work. NHC, along with many other stakeholders through the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, advocates for passage of full-year appropriations beyond the Budget Control Act limits (which were never designed to actually go into effect). As Rebekah notes below, without sufficient funds, people, properties and communities are all at risk.
We expect a flood insurance bill to come out in the House this week. It would include some much needed reforms, including a way for states to create means-tested affordability assistance for policy holders. NHC and the SmarterSafer Coalition are pleased to see the House moving forward with reform.

Our upcoming Solutions for Affordable Housing convening on Nov. 29 will help connect these short-term issues with the longer-term policy and planning that happens at the state, local and federal levels. The latest addition to the agenda is our plenary session on disaster recovery, which will look at ways to find make housing recovery efforts work better in the challenging process of post-disaster aid. To learn more and register for the event, visit our event site.

Meanwhile, our 2018 membership renewal campaign is well under way. If you’re a current member, you should have received a renewal notice. If you’re interested in renewing at a higher level to get more involved with NHC, check out membership options here and reach out to me.

I hope all of you can be with us in Washington, D.C., for Solutions for Affordable Housing on Nov. 29. See you there!

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