NAHB Grassroots Shows its Clout on Key Codes and Workforce Development Issues

Codes and Standards

Earlier this month more than 900 housing professionals lobbied their members of Congress on vital matters of importance to the housing industry, and their efforts during the 2024 NAHB Legislative Conference have yielded impressive results on two key issues — energy codes and workforce development.

Energy Codes

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have implemented a policy where they will insure mortgages for new homes only if they are built to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Studies have shown that requiring new construction to adopt to the 2021 IECC can add as much as $31,000 to the price of a new home and that it would require up to 90 years for a home buyer to realize a payback on the added upfront cost of the home. That’s not a reasonable trade-off for a new home buyer.

Our message on the need to reverse this ill-conceived policy is resonating with many members of Congress and we have made progress on several fronts to halt this costly codes mandate in its tracks.

Today, the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations subcommittee approved language that would prevent HUD from using federal funds to implement this rule. This is the exact ask that NAHB members were seeking in their meetings with their lawmakers on June 12. The full committee markup of the bill is expected in July, and if approved, it will advance to the House floor for a vote.

We are also moving forward in other ways to prevent HUD and USDA from implementing a decision that requires them to insure mortgages for new single-family homes only if they are built to the 2021 IECC.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), along with 38 other lawmakers, today introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to allow Congress to overturn this harmful energy codes rule.

Finally, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) has introduced the HOUSE Act (H.R. 8624), legislation that would require HUD and USDA to remain on the 2009 IECC, would prevent the Department of Veteran Affairs from adopting the 2021 IECC, and would prevent FHFA from setting a minimum energy standard for newly constructed homes financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

NAHB will continue to pursue every possible means to prevent HUD and USDA’s adoption of the 2021 IECC.

Workforce Development

With the housing industry facing a severe labor shortage, NAHB members have successfully fought to put Job Corps funding in a strong position as fiscal year 2025 negotiations unfold.

NAHB has been a strong proponent of Job Corps, which is a vital source of skilled labor for the housing industry. In any given month, there is a shortage of 400,000 construction workers, and home builders will need to add 2.2 million new workers over the next three years just to keep up with demand.

Last year, House appropriators proposed to abolish the Department of Labor’s Job Corps program as part of a 30% reduction to the agency’s fiscal year 2024 budget. Thanks largely to NAHB’s efforts, congressional appropriators changed course and moved to fully fund the Job Corps at $1.76 billion in fiscal year 2024.

Today, the House Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittee approved language that will maintain Job Corps’ funding level at $1.76 billion in fiscal year 2025. The full appropriations committee is expected to markup the bill in early July, and if approved, the measure will be advanced to the House floor for a vote. This is a significant win for the housing industry, and this was another key ask that NAHB members made in their June 12 meetings on Capitol Hill.

Job Corps’ proposed funding is indicative of strong bipartisan support for the program, its mission and its potential for full fiscal year 2025 funding.

Our message to lawmakers that a lack of homes is the primary cause of growing housing affordability challenges and ensuring we have enough workers to build the homes the nation needs is ringing loud and clear on Capitol Hill.

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