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New Democrat Coalition Throws Support Behind Housing Legislation

July 31, 2020 by Dan McCue
Rep. Derek Kilmer

WASHINGTON – The New Democrat Coalition endorsed several pieces of legislation to promote affordable housing development, increase access to affordable lending, and provide transparency of COVID-19 housing and rental relief.

“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 Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer, D-Wash. 

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., co-chair of the coalition’s Housing Task Force, said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic makes it critical to increase access to affordable housing.

“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,” Torres said. “These policies will help countless people across this country keep a roof overhead at a time when it’s needed most.”

The bills endorsed by the coalition are:

  • 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 who 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. 

The coalition said it will continue to engage with House and Committee leadership to advance legislation to fill the nation’s affordable housing gap.

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