LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Washington Legislative Update

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Washington Legislative Update
Philip Weiden

There is some positive news for Realtors out of Washington this year. Instead of the usual piecemeal month-by-month extension, the National Flood Insurance Program has been extended through the end of the fiscal year on September 30. This is a positive development as we rarely get long term certainty on this issue.

A compromise reauthorization bill (HR 3167) that would put the program in place for five years, has not advanced.

Another issue where we have had success is that, after active lobbying by Realtors, mortgage debt tax forgiveness has been extended through the end of this year. It had previously expired on Dec. 31, 2018, it was extended and made retroactive from that point so that there was no lapse in the program. This program has been a lifeline to home sellers who are taking a loss on their home and would face a massive tax bill if this issue had not been dealt with.

An issue with which Realtors continue to be active is restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The National Association of Realtors has advanced a reform proposal to basically create a non-profit entity with a government back stop. The report can be read on the NAR website. It would keep the mortgage market moving and keep the efficiency of the market as an alternative to its current status of being in receivership.

Finally, we do have some movement on a bipartisan proposal to double the SALT Cap to $20,000 for married couples. The bill is likely not to see any movement this year but it is a potential blue print for future bipartisan legislation to eventually fully reinstate the SALT cap permanently.

Stay tuned for updates on these issues as the year progresses.

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