The U.S. House passed the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act (H.R. 7024) in late January and sent the bill to the Senate, where it has seemingly hit an impasse. As a reminder, this tax package contains two AHCIA-inspired Housing Credit provisions: temporarily restoring the 12.5 percent cut to the 9 Percent Housing Credit and lowering the bond financing threshold to 30 percent to facilitate increased production using the 4 Percent Housing Credit.

Negotiations between the Senate’s lead tax-writers, Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) have not been successful, and the chance of a breakthrough acceptable to both at this point is unlikely. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is supporting Crapo.

Moreover, both Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), both Finance Committee members vying to take over as Republican leader when McConnell steps down from that position after this Congress, have made clear that they oppose the tax bill. Thune stated that Senate Republicans should vote in unison on the tax package and threatened to filibuster it. Cornyn too has levied criticism of the bill. While some Republicans have publicly supported the tax bill as currently written and/or suggested that they would support the bill with modifications, Republican leadership’s opposition will make it difficult for them to vote in favor if brought to the floor.

What’s Next and How You Can Help

It is still possible that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) could bring the tax bill up for a vote on the floor. On March 20, he took a needed procedural step for bringing the bill as passed by the House to a vote when he placed it on the Senate Calendar.. However, this does not mean he necessarily will bring the bill up for a vote, knowing that there is a good chance it will not have the votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Schumer is also balancing a number of other priorities competing for Senate floor time.

Our best shot at enacting the housing provisions contained in the bill is to convince enough Republicans that it is worth supporting the bill, even if that means they vote for it against the advice of their leadership.

While we are fortunate Oregon’s entire congressional delegation has signed on as supporters, you can still urge colleagues in other states to contact their Senators. Urge them to express their support for H.R. 7024 to Majority Leader Schumer or Minority Leader McConnell.

To assist advocates, ACTION created a webpage with links to templates and other materials for your outreach. Be sure also to include the support letter signed by 120 national and state coalitions of affordable housing and community development organizations – including many ACTION members – that was sent to the Senate on February 7.

If you have questions, please contact Kevin Cronin, Housing Oregon’s Director of Policy and Advocacy at kevin@housingoregon.org or 971-347-8503.

While there is no hard deadline for Senate considering the tax bill, its chances for consideration become less likely as time passes. With tax filing season having wrapped up on April 15, the likelihood of Senate consideration of the bill drops after that point, particularly as campaign season heats up.

Thanks to the ACTION Network for this update.