Friday Night Wrap-Up: 2016 Congressional Election Results

As the dust settles in DC, the only thing that is clear about President-Elect Trump is that no one has a firm grasp on how he will run his executive branch or what his plans for the Department of Housing and Urban Development might be. I know there is a lot of information coming out of DC about what the new Administration will do or how to respond, but we believe at this point that it is simply too soon to judge.

Trump spent Wednesday meeting with his top advisers in New York City to begin the process of establishing his transition team and drafting short lists for cabinet positions. Yesterday, the President-Elect and his Vice President traveled to Washington to meet with President Obama in the White House and Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. In keeping with Trump’s heavy emphasis on social media during the campaign, the transition team has set up a Twitter account- @TransitionTeam2017.

We are hearing a lot of rumors about who has been selected to serve on the transition team and who might be on the short-list for the HUD Secretary. We have our ear to the ground and are involved in these conversations, but at this time it’s a little premature to name anyone as the sources are likely rumors. That said, the names we are hearing are familiar to us and are similar to lists from prior Republican administrations, including individuals who have worked at HUD previously.

Weeks prior to the election, we began the process of drafting NAHRO’s transition memo for the HUD transition team. In it we outline who we are as an organization, what you as our members do and the impact you have on your communities, and our goals and priorities for the incoming administration. We’re working to finalize the memo now and expect to have it ready to send to the transition team this week. We’ll also share it with NAHRO members once it’s finalized.

Despite choosing a to send a Washington outsider who has never held elected office to the White House,  Americans largely decided to stick with their incumbent members of Congress. This is important because while there is a lot of uncertainty over how President-Elect Trump will run his executive branch and how the dynamics of having a Republican in the Oval office will change Washington, we are very familiar with the incoming 115th Congress. Our allies are still in office, most of the committees of jurisdiction are likely to remain the same, and we have a sense of the Congressional leadership and its goals. President-Elect Trump undoubtedly has major changes in store for us, but we are very knowledgeable about the incoming 115th Congress and we are ready for it.

The relative stability of the Congress means there is also likely to be stability within the committees (with the exception of Financial Services). However, Republicans are only allowed to serve two terms as Chair and two terms as Ranking Member of a committee, so that will trigger shifting between committees that will impact committee composition. Also, the number of seats a party receives on a committee is determined by the size of their majority, and since Republicans did lose a small amount of their majority, that will also impact committees.

Senate Results

The wave that Democrats were optimistic would propel them into the majority in the Senate never materialized and so far they have only managed to pick up two seats (Louisiana’s Senate race will be decided by a run-off election on December 3). As of today, the Senate is split 51-48 with a Republican majority. There will only be six new Senators taking office in January: Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and whoever is elected in Louisiana to replace the retiring Sen. David Vitter (R). It is possible that additional seats will open up in the Senate if sitting members join the Trump administration.

Appropriations Committee

Only two Senators on the Appropriations Committee will be departing Congress: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and current Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will remain chair in the 115th Congress, but the Ranking Member position is open. Since Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is likely to keep his top position on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) appears to be first in line for the job. Assuming she does not run for a leadership role within the Democratic Party, it is likely she would take the job. If she doesn’t, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cali.) is likely to take over. We believe the current Transportation, Housing and Urban Development leadership of Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D- R.I.) will keep their jobs, though that could change if there is shifting between committees or subcommittees.

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Similarly, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has only two members leaving Congress: Sen. Kirk and Sen. Vitter. The current Chairman Richard Shelby (D-Ala.) is term-limited, so Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) is likely to take the top spot. We believe current Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will remain in his position. I haven’t heard much about whether the leadership of the Housing , Transportation, and Community Development will change, but unless they shift to other subcommittees, Chairman Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) I would think are likely to stick around.

House Results

Democrats were always skeptical about their ability to take the majority, but most believed they could net between 10-20 seats. So far, they’ve only managed to pick up seven seats, though four are still too close to call.  At this point, there will be 53 new members of Congress joining us here in Washington in January, which is about 12 percent of the House.

Appropriations

In total, there will be six members of the Appropriations Committee leaving Congress, split evenly between the parties. The three Republicans are: David Jolly (R-Fla.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.), and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.). The three departing Democrats are: Sam Farr (D-Cali.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa., technically he left Congress over the summer), and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) made it clear months ago that he has no intention of asking for a term-limit wavier to keep his top spot on the committee, and conventional wisdom is that Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J) will take over. Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is likely to stay on in her position.

Financial Services

Between retirements and election losses, there will be significant turnover on the Financial Services Committee, largely from the majority. Republicans will see eight members leave the committee: Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Robert Hurt (R-Va.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), and Frank Guinta (R-N.H.). Democrats only have three members leaving Congress: Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), John Carney (D-Del.), and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). We believe Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) will remain in their positions. Hensarling’s name has appeared on the short-list for Secretary Treasury. Though he very quickly expressed strong disinterest in the position, it is possible he will have a position within the Trump administration. We also believe the Housing and Insurance Chair Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) are likely to keep their positions, which is promising given the progress they were able to make last year.

Lame Duck

The current, 114th Congress returns to Washington this week following the election for the lame duck session. On Wednesday, House Republicans will meet in private to hash out their leadership candidates, which should be interesting. It appears that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Ohio) will retain the speakership, but I’ve learned over and over again in this city to never completely rule out a surprise. House Democrats will meet on Thursday.

It’s still unclear what impact the election will have on finalizing spending for FY 2017, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more. Regardless, our message of finalizing THUD spending that we’ve been pushing since they passed the CR in September remains unchanged.

John and I are also spending the lame duck connecting with members of Congress who will be influential in housing and community development in the 115th Congress (and, of course, wrapping up the lame duck session). Keep an eye out for emails from us as we may need your advocacy assistance.

HUD Releases RAD Civil Rights Requirements Notice

On November 10, HUD released PIH Notice 2016-17 (HA), titled Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Notice Regarding Fair Housing and Civil Rights Requirements and Relocation Requirements Applicable to RAD First Component – Public Housing Conversions. The Notice impacts agencies participating in the First Component of RAD, and explains HUD’s front-end civil rights review process, strengthens tenant rights and protections in the areas of resident notification and increases relocation housing options. According to NAHRO conversations with HUD, the intent of the Notice is to bring transparency and clarity to the RAD conversion process while simultaneously strengthening tenants rights and protections.

The Notice makes certain changes to the RAD timeline which should increase usability of the program. HUD will now begin approving front-end Civil Rights reviews before financial reviews are submitted so that any potential Civil Rights concerns are addressed before funding is secured. The Notice also provides clarity as to the circumstances in which HUD will perform a deep-dive analysis of an agency’s front-end review or not. This information is included to clarify certain requirements set forth in PIH 2012-32 (HA) REV-2, issued June 15, 2015. More information on PIH 2012-32 (HA) REV-2 can be found here (members only).

Although the Notice is around 80 pages, much of it covers existing Civil Rights statutes for RAD participants who may not be familiar with Fair Housing requirements.

The Notice also stresses that “meeting HUD’s process and review requirements never constitutes compliance with such laws. The obligation to comply with applicable Fair Housing, other Civil Rights, and relocation laws remains with the PHA and project owner.”

HUD will host a webinar Q&A on the Notice on Thursday, November 17 from 2-4PM EST. Register here.

HUD to Hold COCC Listening Session in Los Angeles

NAHRO encourages all PHAs, especially those on the West Coast, to attend the HUD COCC (Central Office Cost Center) listening session on December 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA. Previous COCC listening sessions have been held in Alabama, Michigan and the District of Columbia. NAHRO has participated in a HUD COCC listening session and HUD shared substantive information in addition to listening to the concerns and questions of PHAs. These listening session are not part of the formal rulemaking process and is an opportunity to have a discussion with HUD on the COCC and the fee system.

PHAs interested in attending the COCC listening session in Los Angeles on December 7, 2016 will need to register at the following website: http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=2944&update=N.

Below is the Los Angeles COCC Listening Session information and agenda that was received from HUD.


In consideration of those PHAs that are located on or closer to the West Coast, HUD has decided to offer an additional COCC Listening Session in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.  Registration information for the Los Angeles, CA session is provided below.   

Background: In response to an OIG audit report, HUD is considering changes to the amount and types of fees a PHA’s Central Office Cost Center (COCC) can charge and the eligible uses of these funds by the COCC.  These changes could significantly impact the more than 600 PHAs that operate under asset management using the COCC model.  To more fully understand the impact of such changes when developing possible new rules, procedures, and guidance on the COCC, HUD has chosen to hold listening sessions in several cities, including Los Angeles, CA.

We welcome your PHA’s participation.

Detailed information on the COCC listening session and registration information is provided below.  Note: The listening session is in person only; there is no audio or video broadcasting of the sessions.

D.J. Lavoy,

Deputy Assistant Secretary

PIH-Real Estate Assessment Center


Who Should Attend? The target audience for this listening session is Executive Directors, Chief Financial Officers, and Public Housing Directors of PHAs that operate under asset management using a COCC.  PHAs also are encouraged to share this information with their fee accountants and auditors.  HUD will be sending a separate email to invite fee accountants, auditors, and financial consultants to the listening session.

Listening Session Registration. Registration is limited to no more than two (2) participants from the same PHA or organization.  To register for the Los Angeles session, please click on the link below.

http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=2944&update=N

The event will be held at HUD’s Los Angeles, CA Field Office.  Take the elevator directly to the 4th floor to Room 4054.

Los Angeles Federal Building

300 North Los Angeles Street, Suite 4054

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Note: Attendees will be asked to go through a metal detector and place their personal items through an x-ray machine.  With this in mind, please give yourself an extra 15 to 20 minutes to go through security and consider what you bring with you.

COCC Listening Session Agenda. A draft agenda for the COCC listening session is provided below.

COCC Listening Session – Draft Agenda
# Topic Time
1 Onsite Registration 8:30 – 9:00
2 Welcome and Background 9:00 – 9:30
3 Reasonableness of Fees and Fee Type 9:30 – 10:15
4 Re-federalization of Fees 10:15 – 10:45
5 Break 10:45 – 11:00
6 Eligible Uses of Fee Income 11:00 – 12:00
7 Lunch 12:00 – 1:00
8 Accounting and Reporting 1:00 – 2:15
9 Break 2:15 – 2:30
10 Transition Items 2:30 – 3:30
11 Next Steps / Closing 3:45 – 4:00

Lodging/Parking Information. For attendees who may need overnight accommodations or parking, this information is provided at the link below.  This hotel list is provided for your convenience.  HUD does not endorse or recommend any hotel.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1BC9D4S6JWMcmEwYWhOYjd6eGM/view?usp=sharing

HUD Posts 2017 Operating Subsidy Projects

On November 10, HUD posted an  inventory of 2017 Operating Subsidy projects, which will be used to generate 2017 Operating Subsidy tools (forms 52723 and 52722). The inventory will be used to fund Public Housing projects at the beginning of the year, when HUD will fund PHAs based upon an estimate.

PHAs should review the 2017 Operating Subsidy inventory and contact their Field Offices if any projects need to be added or deleted by November 21, 2016. Projects not in the inventory will not receive funding.

HUD Publishes Notice on Executive Compensation

On Tuesday, November 8 HUD published Notice: PIH-2016-16 (HA)Guidance on Reporting Public Housing Agency Executive Compensation Information for Calendar Year 2015. The Notice instructs PHA’s on how to submit to HUD calendar year 2015 compensation data collection. PHAs will be required to complete the HUD-52725 form online and submit it between November 14, 2016 and December 9, 2016.

HUD Publishes Notice on the Modernization of the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS Program

Last week, HUD published new guidance (notice CPD-16-17) for Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) grantees explaining the changes to the HOPWA program  that resulted from the passing and signing of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) on July 29, 2016. The passage of HOTMA was a huge victory for NAHRO and its members because it provided housing authorities with the effective tools and mechanisms to improve the operation of their programs. The new law also provided long-awaited amendments to the HOPWA statue that modernizes the program’s allocation formula, and addresses administrative provisions and adds program definitions. HUD’s new notice describes how the HOTMA provisions will effect HOPWA formula allocations for FY 2017 and beyond. The notice also details the program changes that became effective on July 29, 2016 versus the program changes that must be implemented by HUD through future rulemaking.

Learn more about the modernization of the HOPWA program in next edition of the NAHRO Monitor – available November 15, 2016 (members only).

HUD Announces Additional MTW Expansion Call

HUD has announced an additional teleconference for the MTW Expansion Research Advisory Committee that will be held on Tuesday, December 13 from 1pm-4pm EST. The call will continue discussions from HUD’s last in-person meeting of the Research Advisory Committee and will discuss policy framework and research methodology for the third MTW Statutory Objective – increasing housing choice.

The public is invited to call-in to the meeting at 1-800-230-1074. Please be advised that the operator will ask callers to provide their names and their organizational affiliations (if any) prior to placing callers into the conference line. Members of the public that register in advance may  provide a comment at the end of the call.

NAHRO’s past coverage of the MTW Expansion Research Advisory Committee can be found here (members only).

NAHRO Attends HUD COCC Listening Session

On November 4, NAHRO staff attended a Central Office Cost Center (COCC) Listening Session at HUD Headquarters in Washington, DC. The listening session provided PHAs an opportunity to learn about HUD’s initial thoughts on how they plan to refederalize Section 8 and Section 9 dollars placed into COCCs and how HUD plans to determine fee reasonableness for fees paid by AMPs into the COCC. The session also allowed participants to provide feedback, discussion, and ask questions. HUD’s listening session does not constitute rulemaking, and HUD may continue changing their approach depending upon feedback received from the listening sessions.

HUD’s decision to refederalize COCC dollars stemmed from a 2014 OIG report that questioned the underpinning and validity of asset management in public housing. Among other things, the report recommended that HUD “refederalize” fee revenues from the Operating and Capital Funds that COCCs have earned since they began implementing asset management and eliminate the asset management fee. HUD is planning to implement a rule by December, 2017.

Important takeaways from the listening session included:

  • HUD plans to continue to allow COCCs to charge existing fees, including the asset management fee, with some modifications.
  • HUD’s actions will not impact Section 8 and 9 fees entered into the COCC before the implementation of a final rule.
  • HUD plans to allow non-section 8 or 9 funds placed into a COCC to remain de-federalized. Section 8 and 9 fee income would remain federalized, with identified and specific expanded uses. Section 8 and 9 fees earned by COCC fee income would become fungible between Section 8 and 9 approved expenses and allowed to be used for other “expanded uses.”
  • HUD may create two COCCs, one for Section 8 and 9 funding that would remain federalized, and one for non-Section 8 and 9 funding that would be de-federalized.

HUD is still trying to determine how to define “expanded use” for the Section 8 and 9 COCC. HUD does not want to limit PHAs’ ability to use COCC dollars as revenue for the development of other low-income projects. HUD is looking for feedback from PHAs to better understand what they use their COCC dollars for to help define “expanded use”. Please Email coccsessions@hud.gov to inform HUD of how your PHA uses your COCC dollars. This will ensure that their definition of “expanded uses” is as flexible as possible.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez spoke to the session attendees noting that HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) may reopen conversations with OIG and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the matter.