Back From Recess, Congress Set to Tackle Housing Stimulus
As Congress returns to work following its Memorial Day recess, NAHB is redoubling its efforts in support of finalizing a comprehensive housing package that can be sent to the President’s desk and signed into law before the July 4 holiday.
Last week, NAHB launched a major grassroots effort, helping builders set up appointments to discuss the pending housing legislation with their members of Congress while they were back home in their local district offices.
In Washington, NAHB lobbyists have remained in constant contact with Capitol Hill staffers, urging House and Senate leaders to move forward as quickly as possible to address the housing credit crisis and to help at-risk borrowers refinance into viable mortgages.
The full Senate has passed a housing stimulus package that includes Federal Housing Administration (FHA) modernization, a $7,000 temporary home buyer tax credit for foreclosed homes, net operating loss expansion and an increase in mortgage revenue bond allocation.
Additionally, the Senate Banking Committee approved a bill with strong bipartisan support that would reform the regulatory structure of government sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks and help strapped borrowers avoid foreclosure. It is anticipated that the full Senate will consider this bill in the near future.
The House-passed stimulus package incorporates elements from both Senate bills. It contains GSE and FHA reform, expands the FHA to allow the agency to insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages, provides a $7,500 temporary first-time home buyer tax credit for the purchase of any home, enhances the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and tax-exempt housing bond programs and expands the mortgage revenue bond program.
As lawmakers this month begin the process of reconciling differences in the House and Senate packages, NAHB will continue to push for the best overall package of proposals. Specifically, NAHB will urge Congress to act swiftly and include the following provisions in any final housing stimulus bill:
- A temporary home buyer tax credit. This will stimulate home buying and reduce excess inventories. The tax credit is the best way to stabilize the housing market.
- FHA modernization. A revitalized FHA will get mortgage money flowing again.
- Net Operating Loss Carryback. Allowing companies to carry back net operating losses over four years will help businesses weather the economic downturn and make their payrolls.
- Mortgage revenue bond program. Expanding this program will help strapped borrowers seeking to refinance their home loans.
- GSE reform. This will increase the flow of capital in housing markets and free up more funds for home purchases or to refinance troubled loans.
For more information, e-mail Michael Strauss at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8252.