House passes $2 trillion stimulus package
Response to coronavirus pandemic includes $170B windfall for real estate investors
UPDATED, 3:46 p.m., March 27: After a brief procedural hiccup, Congress’ $2 trillion economic stimulus package is on its way to the desk of President Trump.
U.S. Representatives raced back to Washington on Friday to pass the coronavirus response measure by voice vote after Republican Rep. Thomas Massie threatened to hold up the bill by asking for a formal roll-call vote, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The fallout from the pandemic has battered the broader economy, and real estate has felt its effects acutely: the commercial mortgage-backed securities market is on ice, and many are predicting a wave of defaults in the retail, hotel and office markets.
The House needed 216 members present for a quorum to pass the bill with a voice vote. Lawmakers were hesitant to return to the Capitol Building and come into contact with each other and staffers, as several members have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Massie received sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle after announcing he would try to force a roll-call vote, including from Trump, who called him a “third rate Grandstander.”
The bill is the largest stimulus bill in the nation’s history. It will provide most Americans with a $1,200 check as well as loans and grants to businesses, money to state governments, and aid to hospitals and healthcare providers, according to the Journal.
The 880-page bill includes $170 billion windfall for real estate investors. In it is a provision that allows investors to write down the depreciation on properties beyond the previous limit of $500,000 a year, according to the New York Times. According to a draft congressional analysis, it’s the second-largest tax giveaway in the proposal.
Financial markets have reacted positively this week as lawmakers neared a deal for the bill. Stocks for real estate investment trusts moved upward in response to news of the stimulus package. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch