Affordable Housing, Community Development and Renewable Energy.

Published by Peter Lawrence on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 

On Nov. 8, Donald Trump was elected president, likely winning 306-232 in the projected Electoral College vote, according to the Associated Press (AP).  Michigan and Arizona have yet to be called, but are likely to go for Trump, and New Hampshire is also uncalled, but is expected to go for Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Clinton is ahead in the popular vote and appears likely to keep that lead when the votes are confirmed. Although the Electoral College vote is decisive, Clinton’s popular vote win will be one of the very few talking points for Democrats to push back on the Republican claims of a broad electoral mandate.

As for the congressional races, Democrats had a net gain of at least one and perhaps two seats in the Senate and are likely to have a net gain of eight seats in the House, leaving control of Congress in Republican hands.

With Trump as president, it is uncertain what he will pursue with regard to affordable housing, community development and renewable energy.  Trump’s father developed a fair amount of affordable but unsubsidized rental housing, and Trump appeared at the National Association of Home Builders’ August board meeting in Florida to express his support for housing development in general.  Trump also has mentioned on the trail that he was “OK” with the renewable energy production tax credit.  Perhaps Trump’s most direct tie to community development tax credits is his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which was partially financed by historic tax credits.

Nevertheless, tax policy insiders believe that Trump will pursue comprehensive tax reform, using the House Republicans’ tax reform blueprint as a serious starting point for negotiations.  With the Congress in Republican hands, tax reform could be partisan; with budget reconciliation, Republicans would only need 51 votes to pass tax reform legislation in the Senate instead of the usual 60 votes for most legislation.  In that scenario, the community development tax credits would be at risk.

However, it should also be noted that tax legislation enacted under budget reconciliation rules is limited to 10 years.  President George W. Bush employed reconciliation to advance his tax reform priorities, but they were altered by President Barack Obama.

According to AP, Republicans retained control of the Senate with at least 51 and likely 52 seats in the next Congress, while there will likely be 46 Democrats and two Independents, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who generally vote with Democrats. The race in Louisiana to replace retiring Sen. David Vitter will go to a December run-off between Republican candidate, Louisiana state treasurer John Kennedy facing off against Democratic candidate Foster Campbell.  Kennedy will be heavily favored.

Democrats won key races in Illinois and likely in New Hampshire where challengers knocked out Republican incumbents, but all of the remaining Republican incumbents won and Indiana Rep. Todd Young will take the seat of retiring Sen. Dan Coats.

Blog Chart 2016 Senate Election Results