Cassidy unveils bipartisan bill to enhance affordable housing bonds

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on June 6 cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would expand housing investment with mortgage revenue bonds to make homeownership more accessible for America’s working families.

Sen. Cassidy introduced the Affordable Housing Bond Enhancement Act, S. 1805, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to strengthen the Mortgage Revenue Bond (MRB) program and Mortgage Credit Certificates (MCC), which they say have helped nearly four million low- and moderate-income families purchase their first home.

“Middle-class Americans should not be priced out of the American Dream because of rapid inflation and sluggish economic growth,” Sen. Cassidy said on Tuesday. “This bill helps families achieve that dream of homeownership.”

If enacted, the bill would simplify the application process for MRB and MCC programs; allow homeowners to refinance their mortgages with MRB loans lowering costs for homeowners; and provide housing finance agencies with the flexibility to extend loan and credit periods to account for delays due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, or construction shortages, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Cassidy’s staff.

Additionally, S. 1805 would increase the amount of money homeowners with MRB loans can direct toward making home health and safety improvements from $15,000 to $50,000, the summary says, adding that money could be used to add accessible bathrooms and ramps for older and disabled Americans, for example, or to support energy efficiency upgrades or disaster mitigation renovations.

The measure also would require only the issuers, not the lenders, to report MCC recipients to the IRS for tax accuracy and shorten the lengthy 90-day public notice requirement to 30 days to encourage more widespread use of the MCC program.

“My bipartisan bill will help more Nevadans be able to own and improve their homes, and I won’t stop working to lower housing costs in Nevada and across the states,” said Sen. Cortez Masto.

The National Council of State Housing Agencies, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the National Association of REALTORS, the National Association of Homebuilders, and the Mortgage Bankers Association endorsed S. 1805.