October 27, 2014

The Politics of Washington and its Effects on NAHB Membership






 The Politics of Washington and it's Effects on NAHB Membership

"If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" How many times have you heard that line and actually thought about the question? Does anything make a sound if you are not there to actually hear the sound?  You'll have to admit these are valid questions but more important is your believe that things do make sounds, whether you can hear them or not. Our National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is like that for the advocacy perspective. If housing legislation is stopped or promoted in Washington, and the member is not there to hear the conversations, does NAHB make a sound? The answer is a resounding YES. We have talked in the past about what our advocacy efforts (protecting your income and potential business growth) has done for the members back home, at the local level. The politics of Washington D.C. are more than just understanding our respective legislators in Congress; it's really about the role of Congressional committees that proposed bills have the most impact on all of us within the home building industry. Bills begin and end their lives in committees, whether they are passed into law or not. Hearings from interest groups (think NAHB's special interest regarding our members livelihoods) and agency bureaucrats (think EPA) are held at the committee and subcommittee level, and committee members play key roles in floor debate about the bills that they cultivate and advance.

You can say you don't get involved with politics, and you have no need for this article, but our chosen careers within the building industry, be it builder, sub contractor, supplier or service provider is on the path that can not avoid politics and our staff and members that work on our behalf. The building industry is highly regulated and legislated; we can't just assume we have business through osmosis.

I would like to highlight the various committees that have, in all or part of the individual committee's oversight/jurisdiction, affects on our building industry and, by direct extension, our wallets. Below is a brief breakdown of the NAHB relevant jurisdiction for each committee and listed are the issues/bills that have gone through their committee recently. 

Kevin Kelly, Leon N. Weiner & Associates is an NAHB builder member from Delaware.

House 

Financial Services Committee (http://financialservices.house.gov/) -House committee that covers economic issues primarily banking, housing, and insurance.  It also oversees the Fed, individual reserve banks, the Treasury, production/distribution of currency, and capital markets. The major relevant issues for NAHB are: GSE reform, flood insurance, TRIA (Terrorism Risk Insurance Act).

Ways and Means Committee (http://waysandmeans.house.gov/)- House committee that oversees “tax writing.” The committee has jurisdiction over revenue, and revenue- related aspects of SSI, Medicare, and other social service programs. The major relevant issues for NAHB are: MID (including second home deduction), Low Income Housing Tax Credit,  and currently Tax Extenders.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (http://transportation.house.gov/)- The House committee that covers all modes of transportation (including highways, bridges, mass transit, etc), and aspects of infrastructure.  The relevant issues for NAHB are: WOTUS (Waters of the US/ wetlands), and WRRDA (Water Resource Reform Development Act).
Natural Resources Committee (http://naturalresources.house.gov/)- Some of Natural Resources’ jurisdiction is over American energy production, mineral lands and mining, wildlife, and public lands. NAHB has not had any major bills go through this committee recently

Energy and Commerce Committee (http://energycommerce.house.gov/)- E&C has jurisdiction over public health, environmental quality, energy policy, DoE, HHS, and EPA. The relevant issues for NAHB are: Lead Bill, ACA, and currently the Energy Savings and Building Efficiency Act

Judiciary Committee (http://judiciary.house.gov/)- Judiciary oversees the DOJ and Homeland security, reg. reform, and immigration reform. The relevant issues for NAHB are: immigration reform, and regulatory reform.

Education and Workforce Committee (http://edworkforce.house.gov/)- Edu & Workforce has jurisdiction over education policy, but more relevant to our work they cover workforce training/development, and labor. The relevant issue for NAHB are: WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act)

Appropriations Committee (http://appropriations.house.gov/)- the Appropriations committee has jurisdiction over appropriating currency set from the Budget. NAHB has multiple appropriations proposals including cutting funding for the EPA’s wetlands and lead proposals.


Senate

Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/)- The Banking Committee is the equivalent to the Financial Services committee in the House. They cover banking, insurance, financial markets, housing, urban development/mass transit, finance, and econ policy. The relevant issue for NAHB are: GSE reform, Flood insurance, and TRIA.

Finance Committee (http://www.finance.senate.gov/)-  Finance is the equivalent of Ways & Means, they have jurisdiction over taxation/ revenue measures, and SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TANF, etc. The major relevant issues for NAHB are: MID (including second home deduction), Low Income Housing Tax Credit,  and currently Tax Extenders.

Environment and Public Works Committee (http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/?CFID=153464062&CFTOKEN=15013574)- environmental policy, air/water pollution, flood control improvements of harbors etc., and wildlife.

Energy and Natural Resources Committee (http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/)- jurisdiction covers energy policy and regulation, public land, nuclear energy, and water resources.

Judiciary Committee (http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/)- Judiciary (like in the House) oversees the DOJ and Homeland security, reg. reform, and immigration reform. The relevant issues for NAHB are: immigration reform, and regulatory reform.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (http://www.help.senate.gov/)- the HELP Committee has jurisdiction over health care, education, labor and pensions. The relevant issues for NAHB are: ACA, and WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act)

Appropriations Committee (http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/)-  the Appropriations committee (like the House) has jurisdiction over appropriating currency set from the Budget. NAHB has multiple appropriations proposals including cutting funding for the EPA’s wetlands and lead proposals. 



Note #1: I want to thank Jim Tobin, NAHB  Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Jessica Hall, NAHB Government Affairs, for helping me bring this to you.

Note #2:  "BUILD-PAC contributors need to understand the importance of being informed about the issues affecting our businesses and our industry. It is equally as important for us to do our part to disseminate BUILD-PAC’s message among our membership. I encourage YOU to be an active participant in the political process."- Greg Ugalde, NAHB's BUILD-PAC Chairman

Note #3: Click on my name below if you have any questions or would like more info on this article.



No comments: