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Sherrod Brown and Tim Scott

Senate mounts a housing redux, plus tax latest

The Senate Banking Committee convenes this morning to talk housing, housing, and housing. Here’s what you need to know.

Housing reform is a bicameral priority for Hill Democrats. Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told us back in January that housing would be one of his top 2024 priorities. Across the Capitol, there’s no bigger issue for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) than housing policy.

But in the Senate, it’s been tough to find bipartisan crossover between Brown and ranking member Tim Scott (R-S.C), who has a housing framework that Brown has so far dismissed as “partisan.”

So that’s the main hope with today’s hearing — getting to something resembling consensus between the panel’s top members. Brown will say he looks forward to finding “bipartisan consensus” in opening remarks.

Down the dais: We’ve written before about the bipartisan rural housing bill from Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.). Expect that to get some play.

There’s broad interest here in other rural-focused policies. Lawmakers like Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) both flagged housing tweaks for indigenous communities as a top priority coming into the hearing today.

“These aren’t going to solve the big problem our nation is having, due to interest rates in housing,” Lummis told us Monday night. “We still want to be able to address some of the smaller issues that can have some significant impact for very targeted populations.”

And in tax land: The Senate Finance Committee has a hearing this morning on growing manufacturing through the tax code, which is some convenient timing given the gridlock on the bipartisan tax bill. The Wyden-Smith bill would revive key tax breaks that manufacturers really want back. Could be some fireworks!

This week kicked off with senators as deadlocked as ever on the tax bill. “Talking, no progress,” was Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden’s (D-Ore.) only comment on the tax deal Monday night.

The Finance panel’s top Republican Mike Crapo (Idaho) said he’s expecting “further refinement on what are poison pills, what are not” this week for the Senate GOP.

Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) was in the Senate again Monday night for meetings with GOP senators. Smith told us he’s getting close to meeting with most of the conference to discuss his bill.

— Brendan Pedersen and Laura Weiss

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