Sunday, March 20, 2011

U. S. House Deals Construction A One/Two Punch

Last week the U. S. House of Representatives passed, and sent across the capitol to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, two unheralded pieces of legislation which represent direct attacks on the potential for economic recovery in the construction industry and the U. S. housing market: HR 830, passed March 14, would terminate the FHA Refinance Program; and HR 861, passed March 17, would terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The two programs on the Republican Party death list were part of the stimulus package of legislation aimed at assisting homeowners, whose house values fell below the principal balances on their home mortgages, refinance their loans, and assisting neighborhoods with large numbers of foreclosed homes avoid the urban blight associated with a situation where many homes in the same area stand vacant and unmaintained.

The fate of these two programs is now in the hands of the 10 Republican, 12 Democrat Senate Committee. The Democratic members are Chairman Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Senators Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Charles Schumer of New York, Robert Mendez of New Jersey, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Jon Tester of Montana, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Republicans serving on the committee include Ranking Member Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Senators Mark Crapo of Idaho, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Patrick Tooney of Pennsylvania, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Termination of these two federal programs will be like a knee to the groin of an already prostrate residential construction industry in the United States. Without the economic support from the federal dollars these two significant programs provide, housing starts, already on a steep slalom down the mountain, will just turn their tips into the fall line. Seems like the Republican Senators and Congressmen favoring these bills, who already own their homes, want to destroy the American Dream for anyone in the middle class who still rents housing. If your business depends on housing construction for any part of its revenue, you should write your elected representatives on the Senate Banking Committee and point out the folly passage of either one of these proposed laws would represent.
blog comments powered by Disqus