Key Housing Issues Await Congressional Action
Following the recent winter board of directors meeting in Orlando, Fla., the NAHB leadership will be focusing its 2006 legislative efforts in Washington on several priorities. Issues at the top of the agenda include congressional proposals to reform the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and the recent tax reform plan presented by the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.
Key legislative issues this year include:
- GSEs: NAHB will work to ensure that any congressional effort to revamp the regulatory structure of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks would preserve their vital housing mission while strengthening and safeguarding their financial health.
- Tax reform: NAHB will call on Washington policymakers who set forth any new tax proposals to protect current tax incentives that will spur homeownership and rental housing initiatives.
- Storm water: NAHB will urge the Congress to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to reform the federal storm water permitting system. Storm water regulations that are simple, flexible and fair will encourage compliance, and, ultimately do more to protect the nation’s waters.
- Immigration: The House on Dec. 16 passed a strict immigration bill (H.R. 4437, the “Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act”) that focuses on border security and punitive enforcement penalties for employers and fails to include a guest worker program that would help meet the workforce needs of employers nationwide. The legislation would impose fines of as much as $25,000 per worker for anyone who hires an undocumented worker. NAHB will continue to work with members in the Senate to urge them to oppose mandatory employer verification requirements and punitive penalties, and to support creating a legal guest worker program.
- Endangered Species Act reform: NAHB supports H.R. 3824, the “Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act.” The bill cleared the House in September by a bipartisan vote of 229 to 193. The measure would strengthen existing law by enhancing species conservation and protection efforts, eliminating excessive environmental regulation and giving private landowners incentives to enact voluntary conservation measures. NAHB will work this year to pass similar legislation in the Senate.
- Association Health Plans: Last summer, the House passed H.R. 525, the “Small Business Health Fairness Act.” The legislation would enable small businesses to offer better and more affordable coverage for their employees. H.R. 525 would help address the rising number of the uninsured and skyrocketing cost of health care by allowing small businesses to band together through associations to purchase quality health care at a lower cost. NAHB will urge the Senate to pass a companion bill this year.
To read legislation, click here and enter the bill number in the box at the center of the page.
For more information on the association’s legislative agenda for this year, e-mail Michael Strauss, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.