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MBA, NHC laud lawmakers for unveiling bipartisan tax agreement

The housing groups lauded the agreement for its implications on the construction of affordable rental housing

Just ahead of a deadline to avert a partial U.S. government shutdown, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate unveiled the “Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024.” The proposal would increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which housing groups say could help spur the construction of more affordable housing this year.

Both the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the National Housing Conference (NHC) lauded the proposal in statements released this week.

“MBA and its members have long called for enacting tax provisions that address our nation’s housing affordability crisis and the acute shortage of homes for owning and renting,” said Bob Broeksmit, president and CEO of MBA. “We support this bill, particularly for its meaningful enhancements to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that will produce an estimated 200,000 additional rental units over the next two years.”

The proposal contains increased state allocations for affordable housing projects, as well as a reduced tax-exempt bond financing requirement that “will help more borrowers and lenders to use the LIHTC program to construct and rehabilitate housing for low- and moderate-income households,” Broeksmit said.

NHC President and CEO David Dworkin also commended the proposal, echoing the potential to construct 200,000 additional rental units and emphasizing the need for the United States to address affordability challenges.

“The United States is experiencing the worst housing affordability crisis in recent history,” Dworkin said. “This bill will make a significant downpayment on bipartisan solutions to produce more housing that is affordable to working Americans in every state. This is why it has strong bipartisan support.”

The proposal is not without shortcomings, however, according to Dworkin.

“We would have liked to see provisions to incentivize more housing for extremely low-income Americans and build and rehab more housing in underserved neighborhoods,” he said. “But we also recognize that the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good, and this is a good bill.”

Broeksmit and Dworkin specifically commended House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Smith (R-Miss.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for their “bipartisan, bicameral” work on this proposal, calling on Congress to pass it and send it to the desk of President Joe Biden.

Despite partisan misgivings on both sides of the aisle, the bill passed the markup phase in the House Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 40-3. However, the bill may still have an uphill battle to become law due to ongoing rancor in the House, according to reporting at The Hill.

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