Membership Messages

Fahe Advocacy Update: Congress reports nearing funding agreement; CRA reforms proposed; Data as a powerful advocacy tool

If you are visiting your Member of Congress or other federal elected official in Washington, D.C. soon, please contact either Alex or Josh on the Fahe team to discuss the current political climate. They are also available to accompany you on your Hill visits, should you want them to support you.

The Latest

  • Congress reports it is close to reaching a final funding deal
  • Community Reinvestment Act reforms proposed by two federal regulators, comment period to come

Longer Term

  • Data as a powerful advocacy tool

The Latest

Congress has indicated it will vote on at least some of the final spending bills this week; recent news articles have quoted the leadership of both parties saying that they have a deal. “In principal,” both sides have agreed to the contents of all twelve appropriations bills. While there are some political hurdles still in the way, Congress-watchers anticipate that there will be successful votes on at least some of the bills before the December 20th deadline. Among those bills expected to pass are the USDA and HUD appropriation bills, avoiding the risk of a potential government shutdown directly affecting those Departments. While the impeachment proceedings are tying up much of the political energy on Capitol Hill, negotiations on appropriations are very much ongoing.

Last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a proposed set of reforms to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Notably the third regulator – the Federal Reserve – did not join in the proposal. Broadly, the proposed reforms would affect bank assessment boundaries, criteria for eligible CRA activities, and how banks are scored for their performance. These proposals could have mixed results for the areas historically served via the CRA. While it is theoretically possible that the proposed reforms would open under-banked areas to CRA investment, it is by no means guaranteed and the negative effects almost certainly are. The length of the comment period is currently being debated, but Fahe will make you aware when it opens.

Longer Term

Whether you are advocating to Congress, a state legislator, or writing a grant application, data is one of your most convincing tools. It can be even more effective if you present it in a visually appealing way. The Housing Assistance Council prepares a unique and comprehensive data portal that allows you to pull reports on the county, state, and national level. Information ranging from demographic and economic data to housing data can all be broken out at those political levels, and further divided into rural, suburban, and urban datasets. They also provide links to prepared maps with poverty statistics by state and county. The next time you have to make the case for something, think about including a polished, informative graphic – like those found in the HAC data portal.

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