NAHB Achieves Housing Victories in Year-End Budget and Tax Bills

Filed in Capitol Hill, Housing Finance, Multifamily by on December 16, 2015 0 Comments

This post was updated on Dec. 20.

President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion fiscal 2016 spending bill Friday that will keep the federal government funded through September.

The omnibus spending bill includes a number of important housing priorities championed by NAHB and explained in detail below.

The deal also includes an accord to extend scores of temporary tax provisions known as tax extenders that expired this year, including all those of interest to the housing community.

Of note to the housing industry, the budget legislation:

  • Provides incremental reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The legislation prohibits the sale of Treasury-owned senior preferred shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for two years without congressional approval and structural housing finance reform. It also calls on Congress to pass legislation determining the future of these entities.
  • Extends the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program can help NAHB members obtain acquisition, development and construction financing by working with foreign investors who are seeking a fast track to lawful U.S. residency. NAHB has worked with officials from regional centers where there is a need for investment in housing and to match this need with those participating in the EB-5 visa program. This is a clean extension of the program: Congress considered reforming it, which would have severely limited the funds available in urban areas. This clean reauthorization will give NAHB and our allies time to work with lawmakers to further improve the program and achieve a long-term workable solution for the industry.
  • Strips funding for the worker misclassification program. The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) had sought to award $10 million in grants to several states to implement or improve worker misclassification programs and NAHB was successful in eliminating this funding from the year-end spending bill. NAHB believed that DOL’s actions could create an incentive for a state workforce agency, when making a worker-status determination, to find misclassification where none exists.
  • Leaves intact NAHB-supported code provisions included in House-passed energy bill H.R. 8.  If H.R. 8 eventually goes to conference with a counterpart bill in the Senate, this adds momentum to limit the Department of Energy’s advocacy in the development of model building energy codes.
  • Boosts HOME funding by $50 million. The Home Investments Partnership (HOME) Program received funding of $950 million, $50 million above the fiscal 2015 level. After threats to significantly cut the program to $66 million in the Senate, NAHB worked with members of Congress to ensure that HOME funding stayed intact.
  • Provides $3 billion in funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The CDBG program supports affordable housing and other community revitalization initiatives that benefit low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
  • Allays concerns surrounding Project Based Section 8 funding. As HUD transitions the program from a fiscal to calendar year funding schedule, Congress has taken the schedule change into account by increasing appropriations to $10.62 billion — nearly $1 billion above the fiscal 2015 level of $9.73 billion.

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