More than 750 builders from across the nation converged on Capitol Hill for the annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Legislative Conference to urge their lawmakers to support policies that will keep the housing recovery moving forward and increase housing opportunities for all Americans. "We are sending a loud and clear message to members of Congress that a strong housing market is critical to create jobs and boost economic growth," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C.
In 300 individual meetings with their representatives and senators, builders discussed the following key housing issues:
►Tax reform. To meet the nation's growing need for affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities, NAHB members urged Congress to maintain its support for vital housing tax incentives, including the mortgage interest deduction. Builders also emphasized that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is essential to ensure that lower-income families have access to safe, decent and affordable housing.
►Housing finance reform. With Congress preparing to address the future of the nation's housing finance system and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, NAHB continued to advocate that any restructuring provides for a reliable and adequate flow of credit for home buyers and that the federal government plays an appropriate role in backing up the housing finance system.
►Immigration reform. NAHB called on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that protects the nation's borders; focuses on the direct employer-employee relationship so that U.S. employers remain accountable only for the identity and work authorization status of their direct employees; and creates an efficient, temporary guest worker program that allows employers to recruit legal immigrant workers when there is a shortage of domestic workers.
►Credit for housing production. Despite the recent upturn in housing, builders in many markets are still unable to obtain construction loans for viable home building projects. NAHB called on lawmakers to support House bill H.R. 1255 sponsored by Reps. Gary Miller (R-CA) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and companion Senate bill S. 1002 introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) that would help resolve the ongoing credit problems for builders.