Quick Guide to Legislative-Focused Recommendations

The NAB's Report identifies the following critical recommendations for Executive Branch support to expand impact investing. See the listed page of the Report for a full discussion of each recommendation.  These recommendations are listed in the order in which they appear in the Report:

  1. Continue Support for the Community Reinvestment Act. To serve the credit needs of low- and moderate-income communities, Congress should continue to support the Community Reinvestment Act.  (Report p. 16)
  2. Clarify that impact investing can be consistent with ERISA.   Make clear that ERISA fiduciaries may consider environmental, social, and governmental factors in making investment decisions, and that doing so is consistent with their responsibility to act in the economic interest of the plan.  (Report p. 23)
  3. Clarify standards for Program-Related Investments and Mission-Related Investments. (1) Clarify Standards for Production of Income. (2) Clarify standards for exiting program-related investments. (3) Enable a broader range of mission-related investments.  (Report p. 24-25)
  4. Revise legislative constraints on the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  (1)  Provide OPIC with permanent reauthorization, or revert to multiyear reauthorizations.  (2) Allow OPIC to retain a modest portion of its earnings to increase its staffing.  (3) Provide OPIC with the authority to make early-stage equity investments.  (4) Consider updating the requirement that OPIC only support projects with meaningful connections to US citizens or businesses.  (Report p. 26)
  5. Remove investment restrictions on USAID’s Development Credit Authority. (1) The DCA should be permitted to undertake a higher level of risk per country and a higher total face value of loans guaranteed.  (2) The DCA should be given a modestly higher administrative budget so it could expand its operations and help unlock hundreds of millions of dollars more in private capital every year.  (Report p. 26)
  6. Promote flexible funding within agencies.  Agencies should have authority to pilot or implement innovative and effective impact investing funding mechanisms—structuring grant funds more in more dynamic ways, such as first-loss guarantees or pay-for-success arrangements. (Report  p. 27)
  7. Approve the Treasury’s Pay-for-Success Fund.  Congress should approve and support pay-for-success strategies to optimize effective use of taxpayer dollars, including strategies such as those proposed in the President’s 2015 Budget and in draft legislation in the House. (Report p. 29)      
  8. Create more streamlined development finance access. The US should act on the Global Development Council’s April 2014 proposal to create a “one-stop storefront” for global development finance by formally combining relevant programs at OPIC, USAID, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the State Department, and the Treasury Department’s Office of Technical Assistance.  (Report p. 29)
  9. Experiment with impact-oriented procurement. Building on effective procurement policies already in place, procurement programs should be piloted that explicitly prefer contractors with positive social or environmental impacts.  (Report p. 30)
  10. Replicate model impact investing programs to stimulate private investment. A number of existing programs, at SBA, OPIC, Dept. of Labor, USAID and others, successfully provide investment and grant capital for economic development projects.  Additional agencies and programs should have authority to deploy current funding pools to encourage private impact investors.  (Report p. 31)
  11. Broaden the scope of current federal capital access programs to include nonprofits. Agencies such as the SBA, HUD, Education, Energy and others should modernize their financing programs to support high-impact businesses regardless of corporate form.   (Report p. 32)
  12. Support the CDFI Fund and the National Housing Trust Fund: To maintain reinvestment in distressed communities across the country, and further the production of affordable rental housing, Congress should support the Community Development Finance Institution Fund (CDFI) and the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) programs.  (Report p. 33)
  13. Encourage integrated public-private grant-investment capital funds for global development. US development agencies should be authorized to implement a standing investment facility, so that foundations, development finance institutions, and private investors can align the timing and uses of their respective grants and investments. This would provide businesses the right kind of funding at the right stage in their development, and would help to bring in additional private investment.  (Report p. 35)                                                            
  14. Review the tax code for targeted opportunities to support impact investments. Congress can provide tax incentives that foster and support investment in, and growth of, U.S. impact initiatives.  In addition, Congress should consider tax-advantaged repatriation of overseas profits to support an impact investing fund in the United States, building from a series of related Congressional proposals enjoying bipartisan support.  (Report p. 35)
  15. Continue and expand tax credit programs that support impact investment. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) works.  It’s worthy of continued support – and expansion.  The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program attracts private capital to some of the most distressed communities throughout the country.  It should be made permanent.  (Report p. 35)
  16. Support the growth and development of field-building intermediaries. Government can play a key role in facilitating the growth of an enabling entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Additional support should be provided to follow the example of HUD Section 4 grants and USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative (Report p. 37)
  17. Use the influence of Congress to celebrate impact-oriented entrepreneurs and businesses. Using high-profile annual awards and other tools, shining the federal spotlight on successful impact-oriented organizations is a low-cost and powerful way to challenge entrepreneurs, raise the profile of impact investing within policy circles, inspire participation from high-net-worth individuals, and encourage agency employees to innovate. (Report p. 37)



Download NAB's Policy Recommendations