While NAHB supports bipartisan efforts to to reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package, the association believes President Biden's $1.9 trillion plan offers a better path forward to boost the housing sector and economy than the $618 billion Republican alternative put forth by 10 U.S. senators. The White House has also expressed a willingness to continue talks with NAHB regarding lumber price and supply issues.
NAHB has held preliminary talks with the Biden administration regarding stimulus efforts and we are actively engaged in efforts to urge all our members to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccines become available in their local communities. Getting more employees, employers and citizens vaccinated as quickly as possible will make it safer for workers on their jobsites and help to quicken the economic recovery.
While both the Biden and Republican plans offer identical amounts for direct pandemic response ($160 billion) and small business relief ($50 billion), the GOP blueprint provides no funding for rental assistance.
By contrast, Biden would provide an additional $25 billion in rental assistance on top of the $25 billion that Congress approved in December. The plan also calls for $5 billion to help people cover home energy and water costs and provides $5 billion to states and localities to offer emergency housing for families facing homelessness.
The Republican proposal offers no funding for state and local governments while Biden is pushing for $350 billion in funding plus $20 billion for public transit systems. States and cities facing serious budget shortfalls warn they'll be forced to make deep cuts to public health, safety and education programs without more funding. Additional funding will enable state and local governments to avoid layoffs of police, teachers and firefighters and discourage local jurisdictions from increasing impact fees and other construction fees that harm housing affordability.
NAHB is urging Congress to work closely with the White House to quickly pass the relief package.
On Lumber, Open to Talks
On an issue of top concern to builders, NAHB sent a letter to President Biden on Jan. 29 explaining how rising lumber prices are threatening the housing sector and overall economy.
"We respectfully request that you reach out to domestic lumber producers to urge them to increase lumber production to address these shortages and to ask the Department of Commerce to investigate why production remains at such low levels during this period of high demand," the letter stated. "Additionally, returning to the negotiating table with Canada to achieve a new softwood lumber agreement with our northern neighbor and end tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. would be a significant step forward. Such a multi-pronged approach would help ease market concerns for builders and consumers alike."
With the administration just two weeks in, the White House informed NAHB that several agencies are still in the process of staffing up and getting up to speed, but that the administration is open to continue discussions moving forward. NAHB will continue to aggressively reach out and work with the administration on this issue.
On Capitol Hill, with both the House and Senate in the process of organizing committee assignments, our focus will be to educate members of Congress on the importance of the lumber issue.
View NAHB's lumber letter to President Biden