Federal Officials, Roundtable Focus on Potential Election-Related Threats
This week, U.S. security officials released information on their efforts to secure the nation’s election infrastructure and protect American voters from intimidation, discrimination or threats of violence related to the Nov. 8 midterm elections. The potential for political violence, cyberattacks and mitigation strategies were also among the topics of discussion during yesterday’s Real Estate Roundtable Homeland Security Task Force (HSTF) virtual meeting. (Presentation to HSTF | Justice Department bulletin and Politico, Oct. 24)
- As election sites and offices are hardening formerly soft targets, hiring security guards, and installing bulletproof and bomb-resistant glass, the HSTF meeting featured a discussion with Mohamed Telab—Deputy Regional Director (DRD) for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Region II—on federal resources available for securing elections. (Axios, Oct. 9 and CISA website)
- Earlier this month, CISA Director Jen Easterly said, “At this time, we are not aware of any specific or credible threats to compromise or disrupt election infrastructure” although the current threat environment is “more complex than it has ever been.” (Politico, Oct. 24 and Reuters, Oct. 17)
- The FBI previously issued a public service announcement on Oct. 12 warning about election crimes and the Department of Homeland Security announced in June that “calls for violence by domestic violent extremists” against election workers, candidates and democratic institutions will likely rise closer to the midterms. (CNBC, Oct. 27)
- Domestic disinformation campaigns and homegrown threats to poll workers are emerging as the more significant concerns ahead of midterm elections than foreign interference. Extremists are reportedly focusing their efforts locally, monitoring neighborhood ballot boxes and signing up as poll workers. (Axios, Oct. 26)
The Roundtable’s HSTF and the Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC) work closely with federal officials on potential cyber and physical threats to CRE. Roundtable members interested in participating in the HSTF or RE-ISAC can contact Roundtable Senior Vice President Chip Rodgers or call 202-639-8400.
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Ways and Means Chair Supports LIHTC in Year-End Tax Extenders Package
Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) this week expressed support for including the low-income housing credit (LIHTC) in a year-end tax extenders legislative package. (Roll Call, Oct. 25).
Affordable Housing & LIHTC
- This week, Neal referred to the LIHTC in an interview with Roll Call, stating, “But for that credit, there's a lot of housing that doesn't get built at a time when the housing crunch is substantial across the country. I think it's a pretty important tax vehicle. It's demonstrated its value time and again.”
- A 12.5% temporary increase in the annual LIHTC allocation to states enacted in 2018 expired at the end of 2021. The credit increase may be extended or further expanded when Congress returns from the midterm elections. (GlobeSt, Oct. 25 and Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 21)
- In 2020, nearly a quarter of American renters spent 50% or more of their income on housing, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. (Pew Research Center, March 23)
- The Roundtable-supported Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S.1136 and H.R. 2573)—introduced in 2021 by Washington Democrats Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Suzan DelBene—would expand the pool of tax credits, make it easier to combine LIHTC with other sources of capital like private activity bonds, and facilitate LIHTC rehab projects. (Detailed bill summary and (Tax Notes, July 21)
- Neal previously discussed his support for creating nearly 1 million additional affordable homes through tax incentives during a July 12 House Ways and Means Committee hearing. (See also Joint Committee on Taxation, Present Law and Background Relating to Tax Incentives for Residential Real Estate, July 13)
- Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) said the committee will consider the LIHTC for a year-end package, but said, “There’s challenges with the program, I’ve always thought. For me, it doesn’t fall in the highest priority of buckets.” (CQ, Oct. 24)
- Several new federal agency actions aimed at closing the housing supply shortfall were announced by the Biden administration on Oct. 7 as part of its Housing Supply Action Plan, launched in May. (GlobeSt, Oct. 27 | Multi-Housing News, Oct. 10 | White House statement, Oct. 7 | Roundtable Weekly, May 20)
- Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, above, recently stated, “Expanding the supply and availability of affordable housing deserves a coordinated local, state, and national policy action plan. Local zoning restrictions, permitting issues, and the oversized influence of NIMBYs—coupled with high and now significantly rising labor and material costs—are the true factors limiting housing supply, and in turn, increasing housing costs. Government at all levels needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” (Roundtable Weekly, July 1 and July 22)
The Roundtable’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) has formed an Affordable Housing Working Group, which is working with the Research Committee to develop proposals on expanding the nation’s housing infrastructure.
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