The voice of architects: AIA and the 118th Congress
As the debt ceiling standoff looms over the federal government, AIA continues its work as the voice of architects on Capitol Hill. Before lawmakers leave Washington for extended spring and summer district work periods, we look at the success, to date, of AIA’s advocacy efforts in the 118th Congress.
With an extended House Speaker election, the 118th Congress began with a slow start. The delay is reflected in the bills that have so far failed to see reintroduction. AIA’s advocacy team continues to work closely with relevant congressional offices to build momentum for new AIA-supported bills as well as those from previous legislative sessions. Notably, AIA’s annual Lobby Day in February, where more than 280 meetings were held with federal policymakers in support of The Resilient AMERICA Act and The Democracy in Design Act (H.R. 964/ S. 366). Since AIA’s Lobby Day, eight new bi-partisan House and Senate members have co-sponsored the Democracy in Design Act.
Additional notable legislation that AIA has supported Congress in reintroducing end move forward) this Congress:
- Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act of 2023 (H.R. 1785/S. 639)
- Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) (H.R. 3238/S. 1557)
- Disaster Survivors Fairness Act (H.R. 1796)
In 2023, a new research and development (R&D) tax amortization requirement from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, took effect. This new expense amortization requirement, which has drastically altered the treatment of research and development expenses, requires firms investing in R&D to amortize those costs over five years, creating an increased tax burden on architecture firms. Currently, firms are challenged by a larger tax burden related to research and development (R&D) expenses (that were treated differently before the 2023 tax season). AIA is actively engaged with Congress to retroactively correct the R&D tax environment for firms who utilize this federal credit.
Architect of the Capitol (AOC)
AIA is actively engaged with policymakers on Capitol Hill to support a licensed architect as the next Architect of the Capitol (AOC). AIA will soon share how qualified members can apply and has already sent a list of candidates to the hiring team for further consideration.
Building Sector Investments
In 2023, AIA has focused on implementing the significant new funding and programs codified by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), both unprecedented policy packages informed by the design community. AIA aligned with coalition partners to include aligned investments in the building sector reflective of AIA’s successful Buildings are Infrastructure initiative. President Biden signed both the IIJA and IRA into law, in late 2021 and 2022 respectively, entrusting federal agencies to implement the legislation. AIA has been actively engaged in providing formal public comments to help inform how those programs best reach their full potential, including the IRA-implementation opportunity request for information from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Technical Assistance for Latest and Zero Building Energy Code Adoption. AIA also spearheaded a series of joint public comments with coalition partners regarding the first-of-its-kind $27 billion U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a provision of the IRA.
Other Notable IIJA/IRA Implementation Opportunities for which AIA offered feedback:
- Department of Energy (DOE) Comment RE: Clean Energy for New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations of Federal Buildings
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Comment RE: reimplementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule.
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Comment RE: the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a preliminary determination to adopt new energy-efficient building codes and standards for new construction of HUD- and USDA-financed housing. This has long been a priority for AIA. This HUD action fulfills a statutory requirement put in place by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).
A Notice of Funding Opportunity for HUD’s new Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) is expected this week. The GRRP is an implementation of new funding codified by the IRA. AIA provided an official comment in October 2022 for this program.
Stay Up to Date!
- Please, refer to AIA’s Federal Policy Issues page daily for the latest AIA advocacy in the ever-evolving policy landscape.
- Join AIA’s quarterly Specs on the Union webinar provided through AIAU. This series is accessible, interactive, and fun. An anomaly within the A/E/C sector, the quarterly one-hour update led by the AIA federal team includes actionable insight into policy affecting the profession as well as access to high-level special guests such as Q2’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chair Sara C. Bronin, AIA. Learn the latest NEWS (Notables, Equity, Work for architects, and Sustainability) and what AIA is doing at the federal level that impacts architects and the profession. AIA members are afforded 1-LU credit for participation. The next Specs on the Union update is scheduled for August 22 at 2pm ET.