On July 27, 2020, Senate Republicans unveiled components of their coronavirus relief response, known as the HEALS Act, that will focus on health, economic assistance, liability protections and schools. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the goals of the HEALS Act are to get children back to school, get workers back to their jobs, and to win the healthcare fight against the COVID-19. Components of the $1 trillion package were introduced in separate bills.
Key provisions of the HEALS Act include:
- Another round of direct payments to individuals.
- Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for certain hard-hit businesses.
- A limited extension of unemployment benefits.
- An expansion of the CARES Act employee retention tax credit.
- A tax credit for businesses that purchase cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.
- Liability protections for healthcare workers, business owners, and employees.
- $105 billion for schools.
- $16 billion for testing and tracing.
- $2.2 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance.
- $1 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
- $113.4 million for the Rental Assistance Program.
The tax titles in these component bills are small, and as we expected, there are no LIHTC provisions. The proposals introduced by Senate Republicans are an opening bid for negotiations with the House on its $3 trillion HEROES Act. We are keeping close tabs on the negotiations, and are working with our champions to include our priority provisions in the final package.
We appreciate all that you have been doing to let Congress know of the critical need for affordable housing provisions in the COVID-19 response legislation. In that regard, we wanted to let you know that Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) have extended the deadline for House Members to sign onto their letter to the Leadership. The new deadline is close of business on Thursday, July 30. We urge you to continue your outreach to House Members to encourage them to join Reps. DelBene and Walorski in support of a minimum 4 percent LIHTC rate; targeted basis boosts to make developments financially feasible; lowering the bond-financing “50 percent test”; and increasing the annual Housing Credit allocation by at least 50 percent.
On Tuesday, September 15, the Housing Advisory Group and the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC) are hosting a 2020 Virtual Affordable Housing Forum from 2:00 to 4:30 pm ET. During the Forum, you’ll hear remarks from House Ways and Means Commitee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), timely election insights from political analyst Charlie Cook, and Housing Credit policy and advocacy updates. Additional speakers and more information about the agenda will be announced soon. Register here.
In the meantime, we will keep you posted on any developments, and please let us know if we can be of assistance as you reach out to Members of Congress. Thank you for all you are doing.