More than 800 builders, remodelers and their trade partners from across the nation are heading to Capitol Hill this morning for the annual NAHB Legislative Conference.
In a day full of meetings with elected officials and their staff, our members will call on Congress to make housing and homeownership a national priority and to support policies that will keep the housing recovery moving forward.
“Today, builders from coast-to-coast are sending a loud and clear message to members of Congress that a strong housing market is critical to spur job growth and create a vibrant, dynamic economy,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald.
In more than 250 individual meetings with their representatives and senators, our members are asking for progress on several key housing issues, including:
Regulatory reform. “We need a common-sense approach to regulations that kill small businesses. We need to be at the table. We need to keep pressing,” said Tom Ashley, co-owner of the remodeling company Expand Inc. in Baton Rouge, La.
“We’re very excited to go up on the Hill today and speak with Sen. (Marco) Rubio. Addressing the labor shortage is definitely our No. 1 priority. But we also need to get a handle on regulations. Many of my clients are getting killed by excessive regulations and it’s getting harder and harder for them to turn a profit. Our hope is that [Congress will] apply more common sense to the regulations that impact home building,” said Kimberly Mackey, president and founder of New Home Solutions in Tampa, Fla.
A predictable, affordable national flood insurance program. “Losing the national flood insurance program would make it hard to even build — let alone sell,” said Darrick Guthmiller, chief business officer of Kochmann Brothers Homes Inc. in Fargo, North Dakota.
Housing finance reform. “We need to talk about the future of housing finance. That is the key, critical issue here in Tulsa,” said HBA of Greater Tulsa director of association issues Stacey Bayles.
Members also planned to discuss tax reform, including protecting incentives for homeownership, cost-effective energy codes, securing a supply of softwood lumber, and the future of the Low Income Housing Tax credit, key to meeting the nation’s acute need for affordable rentals.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, spoke to builders before they met with their lawmakers and said that this year there is “a real opportunity to do something about tax reform.”
House Republicans are working on a tax reform blueprint that would generate economic growth, simplify the tax code, stop erosion of the U.S. tax base so that it is no longer more attractive for U.S. corporations to go overseas, and provide permanency to the tax code to deliver certainty to the business community, Roskam said.
It’s the first year since 2013 that NAHB has held its annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. During the past three years, as part of a nationwide effort to “bring housing home,” builders across the country met with their federal lawmakers in their home districts.
The conference is held in conjunction with the NAHB Midyear Meeting. “The big benefit of the board meeting for me is coming and meeting with other builders,” said Brian Esposito, owner of Esposito Construction Inc., in Hilton Head Island, S.C. “The learning and education I get from them is a big reason why I come.”