House Scheduled to Vote Next Week on Rule to Advance both “Physical” and “Human” Infrastructure Packages
The House of Representatives will briefly return to Washington the week of Aug. 23 to vote on measures affecting the future of President Biden’s sweeping infrastructure agenda. (New York Times, Aug. 17)
- A group of nine moderate Democrats led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) informed House leadership on Aug. 12 that they will not support a $3.5 trillion budget resolution encompassing “human” infrastructure initiatives unless the bipartisan “physical” infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last week is approved by the House and enacted. (Bloomberg, Aug. 17 and Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13)
- The moderates’ letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, “Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months – until the (budget) reconciliation process is completed. We disagree. We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law.” (Politico, Aug. 13)
- Progressive House Democrats countered with the opposite approach, stating that they will not support the bipartisan infrastructure plan unless it is tied to the massive budget reconciliation measure, which addresses child care, health care and climate change. (Axios, Aug. 18)
- Pelosi this week reiterated her two-track plan to advance both measures in the House despite having just a three-vote margin majority. Republicans are expected to oppose the sprawling “human” infrastructure budget resolution. (BGov, Aug. 18)
The human infrastructure proposal that may be advanced in the House under budget reconciliation rules would be partially financed by raising taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals – and potentially include a variety of tax increases affecting commercial real estate.
- The Real Estate Roundtable held an all-member Infrastructure Town Hall on Aug. 12 to discuss the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, what lay ahead in the House and the potential impact on commercial real estate. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, joined Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, and other Roundtable staff for the Town Hall discussion. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13 and The Roundtable's Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Fact Sheet and Tax and Fiscal Reconciliation Fact Sheet)
- DeBoer, above, stated, “This [reconciliation] package may be financed with a variety of tax increases affecting step-up in basis, like-kind exchanges, carried interest and capital gains that would act as a cumulative drag on investment at the exact time when sectors of the economy need incentives to recover from the pandemic. The Roundtable urges Senate and House policymakers to be very cautious as they proceed on the reconciliation bill – so that one-step forward with the physical infrastructure bill is not met with two-steps backward from tax increases.” (Roundtable statement, Aug. 11)
- The Roundtable’s summaries of budget reconciliation tax issues that could directly impact commercial real estate include:
- Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) laid out a schedule for votes next Monday and Tuesday.
- The House is scheduled to vote Aug. 23 on a rule that governs floor debate on the $3.5 trillion budget resolution (S Con Res 14), the $550 bipartisan infrastructure bill (HR 3684) and a voting rights bill (HR 4). The chamber is then expected to vote Tuesday on the “human” infrastructure framework and the popular voting rights bill. (CQ, Aug. 16)
- Approval of the budget resolution would allow the development of legislation to move forward that could pass later this year under “reconciliation” rules without any Republican support. The Senate voted last week to advance the same measure. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13)
- White House spokesman Andrew Bates this week told Bloomberg, “All three are critical elements of the President’s agenda, and we hope that every Democratic member supports this effort to advance these important legislative actions.” (Bloomberg, Aug. 17)
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Eviction Moratorium Appeal Denied; Supreme Court Challenge Expected
The D.C. Circuit Court today allowed the Biden administration’s latest federal eviction moratorium to remain in effect, denying an Aug. 14 emergency appeal by the Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors to overturn the ban. (Politico and Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20)
The Legal Challenge
- The Realtor groups’ challenge was filed immediately after a federal judge’s ruling allowed the latest eviction moratorium – effective through Oct. 3 – to remain in place until higher courts decide its legality. (Wall Street Journal and Law.com, Aug 13)
- The White House stated its latest moratorium from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is targeted toward areas that have experienced substantial or high levels of Covid-19 transmission. (CDC news release and Wall Street Journal, Aug. 4). The extension would also allow more time for billions in rent relief appropriated by Congress to reach tenants and landlords. (Time, Aug. 3)
- Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an earlier CDC eviction ban could remain in effect through its expiration on July 31, yet indicated the federal agency had overstepped its authority. Justice Kavanaugh wrote in the high court’s 5-4 decision that another extension would require “clear and specific” legislation from Congress. (New York Times, June 29)
- When Congress could not muster last-minute support in late July to pass an extension, the CDC issued its latest moratorium on Aug. 3. (NBC News and Roundtable Weekly, July 30)
Impact on Housing Providers
- A coalition of 15 national real estate organizations – including The Real Estate Roundtable – sent a letter on July 29 to all members of Congress strongly opposing another moratorium extension. The joint letter called for policymakers to focus on disbursing billions in unspent sums of federal rental assistance appropriated in prior COVID-19 bills – instead of destabilizing rental markets with a legislative eviction moratorium. (Roundtable Weekly, July 30)
- A massive logjam in states’ disbursement of federal rental aid to tenants and housing providers has compounded the negative economic impact of the eviction moratorium. A National Rental Home Council survey issued in March showed that approximately 23 percent of small landlords leasing single-family rentals were forced to sell at least one, if not all of their properties.
- Politico also reported on Aug. 14 that nearly 59 percent of tenant households who are behind on rent live in properties with between one and four units – and that 72 percent of those properties are operated by mom-and-pop landlords.
The Realtors’ current attempt to end the moratorium, considered this week by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court next week.
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