As Congress returns from its Presidents’ Day work period, we want to take this opportunity to update you on developments of interest to the affordable housing community. We appreciate the leadership of our House and Senate champions to look for opportunities to discuss the affordable housing crisis and advocate for additional resources to address it.
In that regard, we want to bring to your attention a development that builds on last year’s effort to include a fixed 4 percent LIHTC in the 2019 year-end package of spending and tax items. As you will recall, negotiators agreed to include the minimum 4 percent LIHTC in the tax title of the spending bill, but unfortunately, after last minute objections were raised over the process and the scope of the tax title, the tax deal was reopened and substantially cut back. The minimum credit rate and other tax provisions were dropped from the final agreement.
To build on the momentum from last year, we understand Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Todd Young (R- IN) plan to introduce a stand-alone 4 percent credit rate bill, while continuing to push hard for the comprehensive Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1703). The stand-alone bill is expected to be introduced in early March, and will contain only the fixed 4 percent credit. We are supportive of this effort and coordinating with them as they work toward introducing the legislation. We are not asking our members to adovcate for the stand-alone bill at this time. We will let you know when we begin actively seeking support for this legislation. We urge you to continue your good work in asking your Senators to cosponsor S. 1703.
On the House side, our champions continue to add cosponsors to H.R. 3077, which now enjoys the support of nearly half of the House as cosponsors. While our House champions look for potential vehicles for the legislation, we want to note that H.R. 3077 continues to be part of the discussion with respect to an infrastructure package that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) hopes to consider perhaps as early as May. While the outlook for an infrastructure package is uncertain, we are pleased that Chairman Neal and many members of the Ways and Means Committee support including affordable housing as part of the infrastructure conversation.
We also wanted to bring to your attention the March 19 announcement by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) extending by 30 days the March 9 deadline for public comment on the proposed rulemaking to update Community Reinvestment Act regulations. We, along with a number of other organizations, are part of a working group organized by the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition to respond to the proposed rules from the OCC and FDIC. There are a number of concerns, but specifically we are deliberating how to address the proposal to do away with the investment test, potentially adversely affecting equity investment by financial institutions in LIHTC developments. We will keep you apprised of this and let you know when a consensus letter is ready to submit to the OCC and FDIC.