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Enterprise: Community Developments: Vote on $19 Billion Disaster Aid Package Stalls in House, Package Will Be Held until Early June

May 24, 2019

  • $19 billion disaster aid package stalled in the House earlier today, after Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) objected to a unanimous consent vote. The failure to pass the bill by unanimous consent comes as most Representatives have already left Washington, D.C. for Memorial Day recess. Yesterday the Senate voted 85-8 to pass the package after negotiators reached an agreement with the President in support the bill, although it does not include the White House’s $4.5 billion request for border emergency funding. (CBS News, May 24) As previously reported in Community Developments, this spending package, which will now be held up until early June, would provide assistance for areas affected by natural disasters in 2018 and earlier this year, including $2.4 billion in new Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. It would provide over $1 billion in new funding for Puerto Rico, including $600 million in nutrition assistance and $300 million in additional CDBG-DR funds. The bill includes other language that ensures Puerto Rico and other grantees can access the billions of CDBG-DR funds, including those for mitigation, that Congress has already appropriated. This package would also extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through the end of the fiscal year in September. NFIP is currently set to expire on May 31.
  • Two proposed rules at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seek to create flexibilities in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs to incentivize their use in Opportunity Zones. The proposed rule change for CDBG would expand the regulatory definition of slum and blight to allow grantees greater flexibility in undertaking development projects and incorporate project eligibility changes not currently included in HUD’s CDBG regulations. The proposed HOME rule change would extend the deadline for the sale of HOME-funded homebuyer units in Opportunity Zones as well as extend the occupancy deadline for HOME-funded rental units in Opportunity Zones.
  • Yesterday the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund awarded $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation authority to 73 community development entities under the 2018 allocation round of the program, which expires at the end of 2019. The CDFI Fund received applications from 214 CDEs, requesting $14.8 billion in allocation authority. (Novogradac & Co., May 23) As previously reported in Community Developments, earlier this month Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced that the Senate Finance Committee is forming six bipartisan taskforces to examine a total of 42 temporary tax provisions, including the NMTC, that either expired or will expire between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2019. Enterprise will be submitting comments to the taskforce expressing the demonstrated success and importance of the NMTC program and recommending its permanent extension.
Upcoming Event
  • On Tuesday, June 25, the Harvard Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) will release its 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing report in an event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. This event will include a discussion moderated by Amy Scott of Marketplace featuring Raphael Bostic of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Chris Herbert of JCHS, Jonathan Reckford of Habitat for Humanity, and Carol Tomé of the Home Depot. Registration for the event will be open through June 18 and it will also be livestreamed on JCHS’ website. 

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