July 31, 2020

New Democrat Coalition Endorses Second Slate of Housing Legislation

Today, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), led by Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06), NDC Vice Chair for Policy Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chairs Denny Heck (WA-10), Norma J. Torres (CA-35) and Ben McAdams (UT-04) announced the endorsement of legislation to promote affordable housing development, increase access to affordable lending, and provide transparency of COVID-19 housing and rental relief.

As the President acted to strike down a critical Obama-era affordable housing rule and promoted segregationally-motivated housing policies, the NDC reaffirmed support for inclusive affordable housing development, planning, and zoning practices. This endorsement also comes after critical housing relief measures, widely supported by New Dem Members, were included in The Heroes Act and later passed as standalone legislation to keep people in their homes and meeting their rent. Without immediate action, millions of Americans are at risk of losing their homes and our public and economic crises will be further exacerbated.

“Access to affordable housing is essential to our quality of life. Yet in every community I represent, we are grappling with affordable housing issues – whether for seniors, low-income families, or middle-class families,” said NDC Chair Derek Kilmer. “I’m proud the Coalition is advancing actionable policy solutions to address our nation’s housing crisis.”

“The housing ecosystem is in trouble. Millions of Americans are struggling to obtain or maintain access to housing, and that’s especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to work to increase the supply of – and access to – affordable housing. That’s why I introduced The Fulfilling the Promise of the Housing Trust Fund Act, and that’s why we are supporting this slate of crucial housing legislation,” said NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Denny Heck.

“One of the most important things we can do to prevent people from facing this pandemic without the safety of a home is increase access to affordable housing,” NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Norma Torres said. “The legislation our coalition is endorsing today will help make home loans more affordable, make housing relief resources more accessible, make funds for affordable housing more readily-available, and make credit for low- and middle-income individuals more obtainable. These policies will help countless people across this country keep a roof overhead at a time when it’s needed most, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in supporting them.”

“Access to housing that is safe and affordable is essential to our quality of life, and these issues are only more heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This package of legislation will increase access to housing that is affordable, expand our housing supply, and protect consumers during the pandemic,” said NDC Housing Task Force Co-Chair Ben McAdams. 

The NDC will work to advance the following bills: 

  • Rep. Dean Phillips’ H.R. 3141 – FHA Loan Affordability Act, a bill to make home loans from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) more affordable by ending the requirement that borrowers pay mortgage insurance premiums for the life of their loans. This would level the playing field with private mortgage borrowers for FHA borrowers who historically have been more likely to be lower-income, people of color, or first-time home buyers.
  • Rep. Madeleine Dean’s H.R. 6899 – Know Your Housing Rights Act, a bill to ensure that federal agencies develop resources and provide notice to tenants of their housing rights, relief, and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill would provide resources and information to the many people have struggled to meet rent payments or navigate the housing relief process. 
  • Rep. Denny Heck’s H.R. 5599 – Fulfilling the Promise of the Housing Trust Fund Act, a bill to increase the construction of affordable housing by significantly expanding the National Housing Trust Fund. The legislation would dramatically increase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund by redirecting the 10-basis point (0.1%) guarantee fee currently levied by Fannie and Freddie to the National Housing Trust Fund.
  • Rep. Juan Vargas’ H.R. 6794 – Promoting Access to Credit for Homebuyers Act, a bill to provide low to middle-income homebuyers with better access to credit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would prevent Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) from imposing additional restrictions or costs on borrowers. These entities are set up to support lending to low and middle-income individuals. Current regulations, however, are blocking homebuyers from working with their banks to secure mortgages.  

NDC Members will continue to engage with House and Committee leadership to advance legislation to fill the nation’s affordable housing gap. Earlier this Congress, the NDC endorsed a slate of housing bills aimed at addressing the factors that contribute to the housing crisis, including the failure of supply to meet demand. That endorsement came after the NDC Housing Task Force hosted a forum on Capitol Hill focused on challenges that contribute to America’s housing supply shortage and a forum on measurable solutions to address them. The forums and endorsed bills were preliminary actionable solutions to the housing shortfall identified in the Task Force’s 2018 report, “Missing Millions of Homes.” This latest round of endorsements advances the NDC’s 20 for 2020 Policy Agenda priority to Promote Affordable Housing.