From CQ Today:
A long-running dispute between Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank over proposed changes to the low-income housing tax credit was quietly resolved with compromise language tucked into the recently cleared housing bill.
The tax credit is an important incentive for building affordable housing.
Roberts wanted to allow developers to be able to ignore the military housing allowance when calculating whether families qualify as "low-income." That change would largely affect communities near burgeoning military bases, such as Fort Riley in Roberts' home state of Kansas.
But Frank, D-Mass., and House Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., objected. Military housing, they argued, is the Defense Department's responsibility, and they didn't want servicemembers crowding out home-building efforts for lower-income civilians.
Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., whose district includes Fort Riley, helped broker a deal that ended up in the broad housing bill (HR 3221) the Senate cleared July 26.
The compromise would sharply limit the number of bases where the new rule would apply. Qualifying bases are those that have grown in population by 20 percent between Dec. 31, 2005, and June 1, 2008, and those that have at least 1,000 members of the armed forces assigned to them. A sunset for the provision was included at the Defense Department's request, Boyda said.
Those changes reduced the provision's cost to $33 million over 10 years; by contrast, one Senate-passed version of the provision would have cost the government $259 million over the same period.
In December, each chamber of Congress twice passed differing versions of legislation affecting military tax breaks (HR 3997) without a single dissenting vote. But lawmakers couldn't agree on identical versions of the bill in part because of the military housing provision. A version of that bill became law (PL 110-245) without any such provision.
Frank said he wanted to make sure the solution matched the problem. "This is a much more limited thing," he said.
Nancy Boyda: Bridging the gap between parties- making sure Kansas gets what we deserve.