New Congress Offers Chance to Advance Affordable Housing Initiatives
Since Senators-elect Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won the Jan. 5 Georgia run-off elections, the Senate will be evenly divided between 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will decide the outcome of any tied votes through her role as President of the Senate, giving Democrats the majority. With Democrats winning control of the Senate, 2021 offers a good chance to break the legislative gridlock of the past several years.
The majority status of the Democrats means they will have the leadership of the full Senate and all committees, the ability to set the Senate floor agenda and more easily confirm Biden administration nominees, and the ability to take advantage of the budget reconciliation process, which allows the majority party to bypass filibuster rules and pass certain types of legislation with a simple majority.
The control of the Senate also means the Biden administration will have an easier path to enacting components of its sweeping housing plan that calls for a $640 billion investment over 10 years, including strengthening and expanding the Housing Credit, providing Section 8 housing vouchers to all eligible families, creating a new renters’ tax credit, and providing a new $100 billion affordable housing fund, among many other housing proposals.
With regard to the LIHTC program, the Biden Affordable Housing plan says Biden will expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit with a $10 billion investment. This investment will be designed to make the credit more efficient, dramatically increasing the number of new or rehabilitated affordable housing units. And the plan will ensure that urban, suburban, and rural areas all benefit from the credit.