President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, faced heated questions in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and other Democratic members of the Committee accused Mnuchin of foreclosing on the homes of thousands of families as CEO of OneWest Bank and helping hedge fund clients move money to offshore tax shelters.
Senator Wyden said Mr. Mnuchin “churned out foreclosures like Chinese factories churned out Trump suits and ties.” In response, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) told Mr. Wyden, “I’ve got a Valium pill you may want to take before the second round.” The back-and-forth underscored the deep partisan divide over Mr. Mnuchin’s nomination. Despite the rancor, Mr. Mnuchin is expected to be confirmed.
As Treasury Secretary, Mr. Mnuchin would play a critical role on several key issues, including the economy, trade, taxes, entitlements, housing, and financial regulations. “Our number one priority from my standpoint is economic growth,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “I believe tax reform will be the first and most important part of that.”
Comprehensive tax reform represents an opportunity and a threat to affordable housing. NLIHC’s United for Homes campaign—endorsed by more than 2,300 national, state, and local organizations and government officials—calls for modest reforms to the mortgage interest deduction to allow an additional 15 million lower income homeowners receive a tax break and to reinvest the significant savings—$241 billion over 10 years—into affordable rental housing programs for those with the greatest needs.
On the other hand, reducing corporate rates could directly and indirectly harm the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Many Republicans have voiced support for reducing corporate tax rates from 35% to as low as 15%. To do so, Congress would need to eliminate or severely cut back on tax credits, putting the Housing Credit at risk. Moreover, dramatically reducing corporate tax rates could curtail demand for the Housing Credit, dampening the amount of equity housing developers are able to attract from investors.
To learn more about the United for Homes campaign, see: http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes