Congress Extends Government Funding Until March, House Ways & Means Approves Tax Package with LIHTC and Business Provisions

President Biden signed legislation today that averts a partial federal government shutdown by extending federal funding to March 1 and 8. The stopgap, passed by Congress yesterday, gives policymakers limited time to negotiate 12 additional bills at an agreed-upon $1.59 trillion limit to fund the government through the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30. (Associated Press, Jan. 19 | (Politico and The Hill, Jan. 18)

Stopgap Funding

  • Today’s stopgap is the third “continuing resolution” Congress has cleared since the start of the current fiscal year on Oct. 1. Intense opposition from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus led Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) to reach an agreement with Democrats to support the measure. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18)
  • A similar short-term spending bill last October led to the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) by House conservatives. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 8)

Bipartisan Tax Package Advances

House Ways and Means Committee
  • Provisions in the tax bill affecting real estate include:

    • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
      A Roundtable-supported three-year extension (2023–2025) of the 12.5 percent increase in LIHTC allocations to states. Even more importantly, the agreement reforms LIHTC’s tax-exempt bond financing requirement, which will allow more affordable housing projects to receive LIHTC allocations outside of the state cap, and without requiring projects be financed with 50% tax-exempt bonds.
    • Business Interest Deductibility
      A retroactive, four-year extension (2022–2025) of the taxpayer-favorable EBITDA standard for measuring the amount of business interest deductible under section 163(j). The changes do not alter the exception to the interest limitation that applies to interest attributable to a real estate business.

    • Bonus Depreciation 
      Extension of 100 percent bonus depreciation through the end of 2025. As under current law, leasehold and other qualifying interior improvements are eligible for bonus depreciation. In 2026, bonus depreciation would fall to 20 percent and expire altogether after 2026.  

  • Other provisions in the agreement include reforms to the child tax credit, the expensing of R&D costs, disaster tax relief, a double-taxation tax agreement with Taiwan, and a large pay-for that creates significant new penalties for abuse of the employee retention tax credit (ERTC) rules and accelerates the expiration of the ERTC.

Sen. Wyden and senior congressional staff will discuss tax legislation with Roundtable members during The Roundtable’s all-member 2024 State of the Industry Meeting in Washington next week.

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Congress Struggles to Assemble Stopgap Funding Measure as Policymakers Negotiate Elements of Potential Tax Package

House and Senate lawmakers are discussing a short-term stopgap measure aimed at avoiding government shutdown deadlines on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, which would also buy time to negotiate additional funding through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Meanwhile, with tax filing season slated to begin Jan. 29, congressional tax writers reported making progress this week on a potential tax package that includes measures on business interest deductibility, bonus depreciation, and the child tax credit. (CQ | PoliticoPro | TaxNotes, Jan. 11)

Funding Challenge

  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said on Tuesday that a stopgap bill with funding until March might be necessary. “What that looks like next week, and where it originates, House or Senate, remains to be seen.” Thune said. (Roll Call, Jan. 9 and PunchBowl News, Jan. 10)
  • Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced yesterday that the Senate will consider a “continuing resolution” to keep the government open. “A shutdown is looming over us, starting on Jan. 19, about a week away. Unfortunately, it has become crystal clear that it will take more than a week to finish the appropriations process.” (CBS News and CQ, Jan. 11)
  • In the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is struggling to obtain the approval of conservative Republicans on a spending agreement announced on Sunday for a $1.66 trillion spending plan for the federal government. (The Hill, Jan. 11 and AP, Jan. 8))
  • Republicans currently hold a 220-seat majority in the House while Democrats control 213, which means Johnson can afford to lose only three votes in his caucus for the GOP to pass legislation in the lower chamber by party-line vote. (AP, Jan 11 | CNN, Jan. 9 | AlterNet, Jan. 2)

Tax Package Negotiations

  • On Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), above, presented their members with an outline of a potential, three-year $70 billion tax package. 
  • Disagreements continue over the scope of a potential child tax credit and low-income housing tax credit in exchange for partial restorations of business tax credits such as business interest deductibility and bonus depreciation. (MarketWatch and PunchBowl, Jan. 11 | PoliticoPro and Wall Street Journal, Jan. 10)
  • Issues that remain under consideration include a Roundtable-supported expansion of the low-income housing tax credit and the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). Sen. Wyden and senior congressional staff will discuss tax legislation with Roundtable members during The Roundtable’s all-member 2024 State of the Industry Meeting on Jan. 23-24.

Preview of Coming Tax Battles

PWC 2024 Tax Policy Outlook figure 8
  • Current discussions among congressional tax negotiators are a precursor for a much larger challenge next year, when 23 different provisions in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will change or expire at the end of 2025, including the deduction for pass-through business income and the cap on the SALT deduction. (Roundtable Weekly, May 26)
  • PWC emphasized the stakes in next year’s tax negotiations in its “2024 Tax Policy Outlook” released yesterday. PwC’s National Tax Services Co-Leader Rohit Kumar told PoliticoPro that the current tax package under consideration would amount to only a “rounding error” when compared to the value of all the TCJA provisions. Today’s Wall Street Journal estimated there are $6 trillion in taxes at stake in this year’s elections.
  • Policymakers’ efforts to pass government funding and negotiate a tax package come as office vacancies hit a record high in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a Moody’s Analytics released Jan. 8.

The Moody’s report shows the national office vacancy rate rose 40 bps to a record-breaking 19.6 percent. The new record shatters the previous rate of 19.3% set twice previously—and reflects changing trends in business needs and the recent shift towards in remote work arrangements. (Wall Street Journal and ConnectCRE, Jan. 8)

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House GOP Turmoil Continues; Roundtable Leaders Address Issues Facing CRE

House Republicans continued their divided struggle this week to identify a new Speaker after removing Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last week. Meanwhile, Congress faces increasing pressure to pass foreign aid for Israel and Ukraine, followed by a spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown on Nov. 17. When House GOP leadership is eventually elected, pending real estate-related tax proposals in the lower chamber may depend on whether policymakers are able and willing to expand the scope of negotiations over a bill to fund the government. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 5)

Speaker Search

  • The House has been unable to pass legislation without a Speaker since Oct. 5. Today, House Republicans nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for Speaker, although he will need to be elected with 217 votes from all Representatives, included the divided GOP caucus. (The Hill, Oct. 13)

  • Also today, four centrist Democrats offered to give Acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-NC) “temporary, expanded authorities” to bring urgent funding bills to the House floor for votes. The letter, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), is an offer to Republicans who may also support empowering McHenry to act on spending bills. (Politico and Democrats’ letter to McHenry, Oct. 13)

  • The letter proposes authorities for the Speaker Pro Tempore to introduce legislation on the following:
    • Foreign aid emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine and Israel;
    • Extending current continuing resolution through January 11, 2024, to prevent a
    • looming government shutdown; and,
    • Committee and floor consideration of remaining FY24 appropriations bills.

CRE Issues

Aerial View Of Industrial Commerce Office Buildings.
  • Recent media interviews featured Roundtable leadership discussing industry challenges that will also be addressed by RER members, lawmakers and regulators during The Roundtable Fall Meeting in Washington next week.

  • On Oct. 6, Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEO, SUFFOLK) talked about developments in remote work, housing costs, interest rates, and construction supply on Bloomberg’s The Tape podcast. (Scroll to 30:00 to begin Fish interview)

  • Roundtable Board Member Kathleen McCarthy (Blackstone Global Co-Head of Real Estate) appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report 28 to discuss sector variation in commercial real estate, creating value in a dislocated environment, and more. “Different sectors are traveling at different speeds,” said McCarthy, who addressed activity in data centers, logistics, and student housing.

Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer discussed a range of policy issues facing the industry on Sept. 26 as part of a Marcus & Millichap webcast, “A Conversation with Lloyd Blankfein, Former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, on the Economy and Commercial Real Estate with Insights from Industry Leaders.” Marcus & Millichap President and CEO Hessam Nadji and former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein led the webcast discussion on economic issues, including Federal Reserve policy impacting the commercial real estate market. CRE industry leaders Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC and Sharon Wilson Géno, President of NMHC also joined the conversation.

Partial Government Shutdown Would Impact Policies Important to CRE

Capitol side with sun and clouds

A partial government shutdown looks likely to begin after midnight on Sept. 30 as House and Senate policymakers pursue different short-term funding bills amid hardened resistance from conservative Representatives to pass any continuing resolution (CR) without certain concessions. (The Hill’s live updates and ABC News Sept. 29)

Lapse in Program Funding

  • A lapse in funding could impact the industry by suspending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rulemaking on climate disclosure, and the Treasury Department’s expected guidance on the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction under section 179D. (New York Times, Sept. 28 – “Government Shutdown May Hurt Home Sales in Flood-Prone Areas”)
  • Additionally, Senior White House Adviser John Podesta on Sept. 26 said a shutdown would delay billions to implement the Inflation Reduction Act, including Treasury guidance on how to distribute the measure’s tax credits. (Bloomberg, Sept. 26 | Roundtable Clean Energy Tax Incentives Fact Sheet, July 31 | Roundtable Weekly, July 28)

Shutdown Uncertainty

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler
  • Government agencies are preparing to furlough employees for an uncertain amount of time. The most recent shutdown lasted 34 days from December 2018 to January 2019, and cost the economy approximately $3 billion (equal to 0.02% of GDP) according to the Congressional Budget Office. (Government Executive, Sept. 29 and Reuters, Sept. 25)
  • The shutdown would also come amidst a flurry of regulatory rulemakings impacting commercial real estate capital markets. During a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Sept. 27, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KT) questioned SEC Chairman Gary Gensler (above) on the “perfect storm of regulations” that could further impair liquidity for commercial real estate capital markets. (Watch 1:27 video clip of the exchange | Committee Hearing Memorandum, Sept. 22)

The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting on Oct. 16-17 (Roundtable-level members only) will address numerous regulatory proposals impacting CRE, and assess the state of the economy and capital markets in the wake of a potential shutdown.

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Congress Faces Short-Term Funding Measure to Prevent Government Shutdown by Sept. 30

Funding for the government will expire Sept. 30 if Congress cannot muster a short-term stopgap patch to keep federal agencies open and avoid a partial government shutdown. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) faces strong opposition from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus to strike a deal with the Biden administration, which has submitted an additional $44 billion request for disaster relief, border security, and Ukraine. (CQ, Sept. 5 and AP, Aug. 21)

Flood Response Funding

  • An uncertain funding landscape dominates the prospects for legislative developments for the remainder of the year. If policymakers manage to pass a short-term “continuing resolution,” it could require a follow-on “omnibus” budget package for 2024 that may serve as the only must-pass vehicle to move other policy changes through Congress.
  • As the hurricane season picks up momentum, one government program affecting commercial real estate that is subject to the Sept. 30 funding deadline is The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Congress has enacted 25 short-term NFIP reauthorizations since 2017.
  • A new flood rating methodology (Risk Rating 2.0) in 2021 established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has attracted additional disagreement among policymakers after it was reported that resulting rate hikes could cause the loss of coverage for hundreds of thousands of policyholders. (Associated Press, July 22)
  • The Roundtable is a long-standing supporter of a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP with appropriate reforms that create long-term stability for policyholders, improved accuracy of flood maps, mitigation reforms, enhanced affordability, and the acceptance of non-NFIP policies for commercial properties. (Roundtable Weekly, June 30)

Tax and Other Policy

  • House Republican leaders hope to break an impasse in the GOP caucus over a tax relief package passed by the Ways and Means Committee that includes measures affecting commercial real estate. Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), above, spoke about his efforts to advance the tax measure during The Roundtable’s recent Annual Meeting. (Roundtable Weekly, June 16 and June 9) 
  • The committee bill has not reached the House floor for a vote due to opposition by members from high-tax states who want the package to include relief from the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions (SALT), enacted in the GOP’s 2017 tax law. (Washington Post, July 24 and  Roll Call). 
  • The tax package would extend expired business interest deductibility rules and 100% immediate expensing (bonus depreciation) for qualifying capital investments. Bonus depreciation is 80% in 2023 and gradually phasing down.
  • Two other tax issues with bipartisan support that may be folded into a negotiated end-of-year tax package are the expansion of The Roundtable-supported low-income housing tax credit and technical corrections to SECURE 2.0, a package of retirement provisions. (Tax Notes, Sept. 5)

Hearings & Climate Disclosure Rule

SEC Chair Gary Gensler
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 12, followed by an expected appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Sept. 27. (PoliticoPro, Aug. 28)
  • Committee members are likely to question Gensler about a highly anticipated climate disclosure rule and SEC proposals impacting advisory client assets and cybersecurity risk management. (Thomson Reuters, Aug. 22, “SEC Plans to Finalize 30 Proposed Rules in Near Term”)

The policy issues above and many more will be the focus of discussions during The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting (Roundtable-level members only) on Oct. 16-17 in Washington.

Roundtable Holds Policy Town Hall; Post-election Congressional Session Faces Pandemic Relief Pressure, Government Funding Deadline

Participants in RER Virtual Town Hall Nov9

The Real Estate Roundtable this week held a virtual “town hall” to discuss the election and its impact on national policy issues. Participating in the discussion were Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roundtable Chair Debra Cafaro (Chairman and CEO, Ventas, Inc.), Chair-Elect John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer and policy staff. The Nov. 9 discussion addressed a wide range of policy issues with nearly 200 Roundtable members in attendance. (Watch the discussion on The Roundtable’s YouTube Channel)

  • Cafaro said, “Our priorities are the COVID relief package that will come out of Congress, whether in the lame-duck session or later – a renters’ fund … (support) for state and local government relief … for the Paycheck Protection Program … funding for continued vaccine and testing and distribution … and liability protection of some type.”
  • Fish stated, “What is important for this COVID bill … if we don’t support the cities and towns and states, getting them back on their feet, the issues of lay-offs, restoring services and the impact on education … it is going to continue to spiral. If that happens, that is really detrimental.” He added those measures should be “coupled with PPP support because we need to put people back to work. They need payroll protection, the need jobs and that sense of security.” (Nov. 9 Roundtable Town Hall video)
  • Roundtable policy staff reviewed the lame-duck legislative outlook; tax and energy policy; and initiatives to create a Federal “business continuity” insurance program to mitigate future pandemic risk.
  • DeBoer also participated in a Nov. 12 NYU Shack Institute of Real Estate remote discussion on “Real Estate’s Priorities: Engaging with the New Administration” with Dr. Sam Chandan, PhD, Silverstein Chair of the Institute. (See Shack’s entire agenda)
  • “The narrow majorities in the House and Senate next Congress will place a premium on bipartisanship, and create hurdles for extreme legislation.  We expect a very active Congress. Large legislative agreements will be possible, but odds favor more targeted, constructive legislative initiatives. We look forward to offering our positive perspective on stabilizing the economy and moving forward,” DeBoer said. (Video with Sam Chandan)

Lame-Duck Agenda

DC Capitol Building

President-elect Joe Biden and Democratic leaders met this week about prospects for a bipartisan pandemic relief package during the post-election Congress, despite deadlocked negotiations over the cost and policy details of COVID-19 aid – and unlikely chances for compromise ahead of Georgia’s Senate elections on Jan. 5.

Both chambers of Congress return for their “lame-duck” session with a limited amount of working days before the new 117th Congress begins in January. The current Congress will need to pass a funding bill to keep the government open past Dec. 11 or face a shutdown – and negotiate a coronavirus stimulus package before several safety net programs expire in late December. It is possible the two measures could be combined in an “omnibus” bill. (BGov and Calculated Risk, Nov. 12)

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said this week that Congress should pass a limited stimulus bill before the end of the year, reiterating Senate Republicans’ opposition to a larger-scale package Democrats favor, signaling the current stalemate could extend into next year. (The Hill, Nov. 12 and Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 6)
  • Biden’s meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday addressed several outstanding issues facing Congress and the new administration.
  • According to a joint readout from Biden’s transition team and the congressional Democrats, “They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for working families and small businesses, support for state and local governments trying to keep frontline workers on the payroll, expanded unemployment insurance, and affordable health care for millions of families.” (The Hill, Nov. 12)
  • Policymakers are reconvening amidst troubling signs affecting the economy, including a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths throughout the country as state and local governments consider reinstating lockdowns and school shutdowns. (Axios, Nov. 13)
  • Additionally, The Washington Post reported this week that regulators are increasingly concerned about US banks’ loan exposure to commercial real estate. The Nov. 11 article reports that if banks are forced to absorb losses on their $2 trillion in commercial real estate loans, the entire economy will suffer, according to Federal Reserve officials, economists and credit analysts.
  • “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) regards 356 banks as ‘concentrated’ in commercial real estate, based upon criteria such as the ratio of their CRE loans to their capital base and the pace of loan growth over the past three years,” according to the article.

Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in a September speech, “I am especially worried about a second shoe dropping that will particularly affect small and medium-sized banks, which provide a large share of commercial real estate loans and small-business loans. A curtailment of credit resulting from such problems has caused serious head winds to recoveries in the past and may be a serious problem going forward.” (Washington Post, Nov. 11)

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Congress Reaches Spending Deal to Avert Shutdown; Roundtable and Business Coalition Urge Year-End TRIA Reauthorization


A bipartisan spending deal to fund the government before a Dec. 20 deadline has been agreed to in principle, with details and a vote expected next week, according to top congressional lawmakers.  During the year-end policy rush to attach other legislation to the must-pass spending bill, The Roundtable and a diverse business coalition on Dec. 11 urged Congress to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for 7 years by passing S. 2877.

  • After rounds of funding negotiations between leaders of Senate and House appropriators this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) on Thursday reported, “There’s a meeting of the minds.”  (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 12 and The Hill)
  • “Let me say in no uncertain terms, nobody wants to have a government shutdown,” said Sec. Mnuchin.  (Bloomberg Tax, Dec. 12)
  • Funding for the National Flood Insurance and EB-5 investor programs are currently operating under a four-week spending bill signed by President Trump on Nov. 21.  If a new round of funding is not agreed to by policymakers, the programs will shutdown on Dec. 21. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 22)
  • The spending agreement would avert a shutdown by spreading nearly $1.4 trillion in discretionary government spending over a dozen appropriations bills for FY2020, which ends Sept. 30, 2020.  The specific bills are likely to be unveiled Monday. (BGov, Dec. 13)
  • The contentious issue of funding for border wall along the Mexican border, which led to a 35-day government shutdown last year, is reportedly part of an agreement on immigration issues. The spending deal would provide the same funding for the border wall that Congress offered for fiscal year 2019 – $1.375 billion, instead of $5 billion requested by the White House.  (Roll Call, Dec. 12)
  • A flurry of policy developments this week may result in lawmakers agreeing to the massive funding bill, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and a Phase One Deal with China.

As lawmakers work to assemble the final spending package to pass by Dec. 20, several other measures – including a seven-year TRIA reauthorization and tax extenders – may compete for inclusion in the final “omnibus” bill.

Roundtable Urging TRIA Reauthorization

On Dec. 11, The Roundtable and a  diverse business coalition sent a letter to all members of the Senate urging action on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 2877) as soon as possible.  The Senate bill would extend TRIA for seven years, “allowing the program to continue providing vital economic protections against acts of terrorism that companies throughout the nation rely on,” according to the letter

  • The letter also notes, “Since its initial enactment in 2002, TRIA has served as a vital public-private risk sharing mechanism, ensuring that private terrorism risk insurance coverage remains available to commercial businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.”
  • A seven-year TRIA reauthorization passed the House on Nov. 18 (H.R. 4634) as the Senate Banking Committee advanced a similar bill (S. 2877) on Nov. 20.  (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 22)
  • Last week, The Roundtable and its partners in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) urged Senators to include the TRIA reauthorization in a possible year-end spending package.  (CIAT Letter, Dec. 2)
  • Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer commented on the importance of TRIA in a Dec. 12 Bisnow article on “5 Policy Issues That Could Affect Commercial Real Estate In 2020.”
  • “The reason it’s important is you want your assets, the property and potential damage to be covered by insurance, but you also want the people in your building to be covered by insurance if, God forbid, something happened,” DeBoer said. “If you don’t have all risk coverage on your asset, typically it’s very difficult to get financing for that asset from a bank or pension fund.”
  • “We’re optimistic we can get it done before the end of 2019,” he said. “If that does not happen, our top priority in 2020 will be to extend TRIA and maintain that Act.”  (Bisnow, Dec. 12)

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said yesterday that a final omnibus containing the spending bill and other measures may be grouped into two packages and voted on Tuesday.  Congress is expected to adjourn for the holiday recess by Dec. 20.  (The Hill, Dec. 12) 

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Tax Measures and TRIA Among Year-End Policy Rush

Capitol Hill
Congress faces a Dec. 20 deadline to fund the government or risk a shutdown as the impeachment process continues in the House, with a likely trial in the Senate beginning in January.

  • Funding for the National Flood Insurance and EB-5 investor programs are currently operating under a four-week spending bill signed by President Trump on Nov. 21.  Without a spending bill or a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) extending current funding, the programs will shutdown on Dec. 21 until Congress reaches a resolution. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 22)
  • Several legislative measures – including an end-of-year tax policy bill and reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) – may compete for inclusion in a must-pass “omnibus” spending package. Yet lawmakers may not have enough time to complete fiscal 2020 appropriations before current funding runs out in two weeks.  Another CR is a possibility before Congress breaks for the holiday.
  • The contentious issue of appropriating Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds for a wall on the border with Mexico remains a sticking point in negotiations. This same issue led to a historic, 35-day government shutdown from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019.
  • This year, the Trump Administration has requested $8.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 to build the wall – and an additional $3.6 billion to restore military base funding that was previously transferred toward partial wall construction.  An administration official said President Trump will not sign any nondefense bill until funding for DHS and a border wall are resolved.  (CQ, Dec. 4)
  • Among the legislative measures of importance to commercial real estate that may be included in a year-end omnibus are tax extenders and technical corrections.
  • Negotiations on a tax package and extenders have been difficult, according to Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “It’s different this year from other years,” he said. (Politico, Dec. 5)
  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richie Neal (D-MA) said yesterday that some technical corrections to the 2017 tax overhaul law could become part of a year-end tax bill.  “I’m interested in some technical corrections,” Neal said, adding that they could include a fix to an error that prevents restaurants and retailers from immediately expensing the cost of interior renovations.  (BGov Tax, Dec. 5)
  • A top legislative priority for CRE that is also outstanding is a seven-year TRIA reauthorization, which passed the House on Nov. 18 (H.R. 4634) as the Senate Banking Committee advanced a similar bill (S. 2877) on Nov. 20.  (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 22)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable is working with its partners in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) to urge Senators to include the TRIA reauthorization in a possible year-end spending package.  CIAT sent a letter this week to all Senators urging them to co-sponsor S. 2877 and secure its passage before the end of 2019. (CIAT Letter, Dec. 2)
  • The Roundtable and its CIAT partners continue to meet with Senate offices to encourage increased support for S. 2877. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is the lead sponsor, with 17 bipartisan cosponsors.
  • As Congress attempts to juggle many legislative priorities – including an updated version of a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada (USMCA) and a bill on prescription drug costs – the pressure to pass multiple appropriations bills funding government agencies may lead to a Continuing Resolution extending current funding.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters this week, “I don’t want to contemplate having bills pushed over [into 2020] because we can’t get agreement.”  (CQ, Dec. 4)

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ULI Releases “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020”; Podcast Features Roundtable’s DeBoer on Industry Issues

The publication Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020, released by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC, reports that U.S. real estate remains a favored asset class, as economic uncertainty and societal changes have resulted in successful industry adaptations to space design, development and business operations.   


  • “Throughout this period of extended economic growth, real estate development has been dominated by creative mixed-use projects that have revived many urban areas,” said ULI Global Chairman W. Edward Walter. “Going forward, those who continue to innovate with spaces that can be easily be repurposed as cities evolve will have a competitive edge.  Staying ahead of change means being flexible and adaptable.” (ULI news release, Sept. 19)
  • Trends highlighted in the report include: 
    • ESG – There is a growing commitment to the tenets of ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles among corporations in general and real estate in particular. Sustainability evaluation is becoming a checklist item for institutional investors domestically and worldwide. Strong interest by millennials in environmentally and socially conscious business practices is a major factor driving this trend.
    • Infrastructure – Real estate professionals waiting for a federal solution to America’s infrastructure needs are looking to states and localities that are committed to improved infrastructure as a foundation for economic growth.
    • Housing Affordability has reached a crucial point, even in markets that previously boasted of low-cost housing.  There is a rise in co-living arrangements, among older as well as younger generations.
    • Hipsturbia – The live-work-play districts that spurred 24-hour downtowns in the 1990s has spread to many suburban communities, which are seeking to become hip destinations, or “hipsturbs.”  The key to success: transit access, walkability, and abundant retail, restaurant and recreation options.
    • Technology – Property managers are turning to technology solutions for productivity enhancements and improved operational efficiency.  Demand is also increasing from occupants and capital sources for technological sophistication across all sectors.
  • The report also notes that the industrial/distribution sector continues to be ranked highest for investment and development prospects, reflecting the impact of e-commerce and rising demand for storage and delivery facilities.  Multifamily and single-family housing are also highly favored, as housing needs continue to change for millennials and baby boomers. 
  • Societal trends and public policy issues affecting commercial real estate are also featured in an Oct. 1 interview with Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer (left in photo above)  during an episode of the podcast, “Through The Noise.”  
  • In a wide-ranging, 50-minute interview, DeBoer explains The Roundtable’s role in industry efforts in Washington, including terrorism insurance, affordable housing needs, energy efficiency and opportunity zones. 
  • DeBoer states in the podcast, ““Whether rural or urban; multifamily or office … we’re working together as an industry and talking about how development projects contribute to jobs and local communities.  Commercial real estate provides 70% of local budgets to pay teachers and build roads. Healthy, strong real estate is good for everyone and helps every part of our society.”

Public policies affecting CRE will be discussed during The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting on Oct. 30 in Washington, where guests will include U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.

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Congress Passes Government Funding Through November 21; President Trump Expected to Sign

U.S. Capitol

A “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to fund the government at current levels through November 21 was approved by the Senate yesterday after House passage last week, sending the stopgap measure to President Trump for his signature. 

  • A senior White House official said President Trump will sign the CR, which avoids the threat of a government shutdown on October 1, the start of the government’s fiscal year.  The measure includes funding for programs of importance to commercial real estate, including the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program and National Flood Insurance Program.  (BGov, Sept. 26 and Roll Call, Sept. 23)

  • The CR gives lawmakers more time to negotiate spending levels and policy differences, since none of the 12 annual discretionary spending bills have been signed into law yet.  One of the most contentious issues in the appropriations process is funding for a wall on the southern border, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.  Disagreements over wall funding led to the historic 35-day partial government shutdown in 2018–2019. (Politico, Jan. 25)

  • President Trump’s request for $5 billion for a southern border wall resulted in Democrats proposing an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday to block the funds.  (Washington Post, Sept. 26)

  • Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) said, “As we close out this month, I think, we must acknowledge the progress we have made while also recognizing that we still have a long way to go in fulfilling our duty to fund the government.  Most importantly for those negotiations to end in success … my Democratic colleagues and the president will have to reach an agreement, once again, on border security.”

  • The appropriations dispute exists despite an agreement over the summer between Congress and the administration on a broad deal that allocated more than $2.7 trillion in discretionary federal spending over two years and suspended the debt ceiling until July 2021.  (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 2)

Congress will return from a two-week recess on Oct. 15 to face the Nov. 21 funding deadline, or the prospect of another partial government shutdown.   The tight timeframe poses the possibility of more stopgap measures if differences over funding levels cannot be resolved.  Another scenario is the prospect of a full-year CR.  (CQ and Politico, Sept. 26)

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