A High-Level Meeting of the Minds

If the clout of a Washington trade association is measured by its access to high-level policymakers, than the members of NAHB have much to be proud about.

This week alone, during the 2018 NAHB Spring Executive Board Meeting in Washington, builders met at the White House with Vice President Pence and top administration officials; discussed the housing outlook with the Fed chairman; hosted HUD Secretary Ben Carson at the National Housing Center; and held several meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The fact that the National Association of Home Builders is so respected in Washington, D.C. is that the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Reserve chair, the secretary of the Treasury, our U.S. trade representative and the vice president of the United States all want to hear what we have to say,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “They want to talk about our issues and really get something done. That’s unprecedented, and it shows you the importance of housing.”

On Monday, the NAHB leadership met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to discuss the housing and economic outlook and to provide the builders’ perspective on the strength of local and regional housing markets throughout the country.

The next day, the Executive Board traveled to the White House, where they received a briefing on major economic policy issues from Vice President Mike Pence and top Trump administration officials. The vice president and the team from the West Wing pledged to work with NAHB on key issues affecting the housing industry, including regulatory reform, workforce development and softwood lumber. Builders were also able to engage in a Q&A session and relay their top concerns as they relate to the housing industry.

Later that afternoon, scores of meetings were held with bipartisan congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to address NAHB policy priorities.

Regulatory Relief a Top Priority
On May 23, HUD Secretary Ben Carson spoke to the Executive Board at the National Housing Center and reaffirmed the administration’s support for regulatory reform.

Noting that regulations “act as a stealth tax” on all American businesses, Carson said that one of President Trump’s first executive orders was the “2-for-1” rule which stipulated that for every new regulation that is created, two must be eliminated. “The president is very committed to your industry and understands you need and want regulatory relief,” said Carson. “At HUD, we think the time is ripe to conform to the president’s agenda on eliminating or streamlining regulations and create a more coordinated regulatory environment.”

Addressing other topics, the HUD secretary said:

  • It is his hope that housing finance reform will be back on the congressional agenda for next year.
  • HUD’s disaster response is moving quickly, and all $35 billion in the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief Program has been allocated.
  • The agency is making it a top priority to modernize FHA technology.

“Home building is the bedrock of this country,” Carson said. “It is a major mechanism for families to accumulate wealth. Thank you for your dedication for making the American dream come through for so many people.”

This article is from NAHB’s NAHB Now blog.