When last you heard from us, the U.S. Senate had adjourned for the 4th of July recess without taking action on H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, the extender bill, which contains $1.065 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund and associated vouchers, and three important provisions on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
The Senate voted three times on versions of the extender bill during June, failing each time to garner the 60 votes needed to move it forward. No concerns were raised regarding the National Housing Trust Fund. The opponents, all Republicans and Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), objected to two things. The first was that some of the items in the bill, including extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) and more Medicaid aid to the states, were classified as emergency spending and therefore not paid for (offset). The opponents want all spending to be paid for by cuts somewhere else. The second was that the elements of the bill that were offset, including the National Housing Trust Fund, would be paid for by closing several different tax loopholes, meaning some people would have to pay higher taxes.
As the June work session drew to a close, two elements of the extender bill were introduced as stand-alone measures. One, extension of UI, did not get 60 votes. The other, another extension of the homebuyer tax credit, was approved by both the Senate and the House, and enacted into law.
Now that the Senate has reconvened, the leadership is working to get all the elements of the bill passed this month, although it may be piecemeal. As of this writing, we understand that negotiations are underway with individual Republican Senators to reach the compromises needed to get to 60 votes to pass the extender bill WITH the National Housing Trust Fund and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit provisions included.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Make sure your Senators, no matter what state you are from, know you want action on the National Housing Trust Fund this month. Call the Capitol switchboard at 877-210-5351 and ask for each of your Senators’ offices in turn. Tell them that funding for the National Housing Trust Fund must pass now.