Addressing a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues with serious repercussions for the nation’s supply of affordably priced housing, NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey and First Vice Chairman Carl Harris met with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill over the past 48 hours to pursue a strong national agenda for housing.
The NAHB Senior Officers reiterated the importance of housing and homeownership to the economy and urged lawmakers to focus on supply chain, regulatory and workforce development issues to help stem rising housing costs. They also stressed that a vibrant housing market is critical to maintain robust job and economic growth.
Discussions were held with nearly two dozen influential lawmakers, including:
- Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)
- Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)
- Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)
- Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
- Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
- Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)
On the supply chain and lumber front, the Senior Officers stressed the urgent need to boost production of electrical transformers, stating that it takes 16 months to produce and deploy new transformers, and that current shortages are delaying housing projects and increasing construction costs. NAHB is urging Congress to use its authority under the Defense Production Act to expedite production of depleted stockpiles.
Regarding lumber, our message to members of Congress is to remove barriers to trade, such as tariffs on Canadian lumber, and to eliminate other duties and quotas for imports of raw materials and finished units from U.S. allies.
In their talks with lawmakers, Huey and Harris pointed out the urgent need for regulatory reform, noting that on average, regulations account for nearly 25% of the cost of a single-family home and more than 30% of the cost of a typical apartment development.
House Passes Resolution to Rescind WOTUS Rule
The Senior Officers stressed that the Biden administration’s new “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule is a perfect example of federal overreach that needlessly raises housing costs. The rule is so vague that builders cannot determine whether the most basic activities undertaken on their land will subject them to the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements.
Huey and Harris urged House and Senate lawmakers to support a WOTUS resolution introduced in the Senate by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and in the House by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and thanked members of Congress who support the measure. The resolution to rescind the Biden WOTUS rule — which NAHB aggressively lobbied for — was passed by the House as the Senior Officers wrapped up their Hill visits.
To help address the widespread shortage of workers in the residential construction sector, Huey and Harris urged members of Congress to promote and fund job training programs such as Job Corps and YouthBuild to address the labor shortfall.
In addition to these vital issues, talks also centered on the need to enact policies that would:
- Prevent federal intrusion into the codes development process;
- Provide a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program; and
- Replace the mortgage interest deduction with a tax credit that is targeted to lower- and middle-income Americans.