When political historians reflect on the monumental year of 2019, they, of course, will remember the repeal of the Waters of the U.S. regulation and the House vote giving businesses involved in the marijuana industry access to legal U.S. bank accounts.
OK, maybe not. But those interested in real estate issues should take note because those were just two of the many wins last year for the National Association of REALTORS®’ federal advocacy team.
In fact, look behind all the political news, and you will find one of NAR’s best years for federal advocacy in a long time—maybe ever.
We recently compiled a list of 19 federal policy accomplishments from 2019 that should give every one of our 1.4 million members reason to cheer. It isn’t an exhaustive list, but it showcases how hard our brilliant and talented team of advocates fought for your business last year.
On flood insurance, we secured a full fiscal year extension. After more than a dozen short-term extensions over the past two years, this brings more certainty to the program than we have seen in a while and buys us time to fight for long-term structural reforms.
We fought for terrorism risk insurance reauthorization and scored big—a full seven years! That's about as good as it gets in Washington for program stability.
On the tax front, we secured enough changes to keep your clients’ accountants busy in 2020. These include the exclusion of forgiven mortgage debt from gross income and the deductibility of both premiums from mortgage insurance and the cost of improvements to make commercial buildings more energy-efficient.
And who could forget the condo rule? After a decade-long fight, HUD released new FHA condo loan policies that NAR believes will yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities.
2020 is already off to a great start as well.
In January alone, NAR leadership—including President Vince Malta—stood alongside President Donald Trump at the White House on two different occasions. First, to unveil new environmental reforms; and second, to attend a bill signing ceremony for the USMCA trade agreement (the new NAFTA). NAR strongly supported these efforts, and in the case of USMCA, we even partnered with the Canadian and Mexican REALTORS® to help get the deal across the finish line.
Our members should know that invitations to a White House bill signing are rare and an immense honor in our nation’s capital.
And, in early February, over 300 government officials, academic experts, and industry stakeholders gathered in Washington for NAR’s Housing Affordability Policy Forum. Panelists discussed the lack of housing supply, mortgage credit access and the racial homeownership gap. The full day’s events can be viewed here, while this link will take you to NAR’s White Paper calling on Congress to restore homeownership incentives in the U.S. tax code.
With all of the U.S. House up for reelection (that’s 435 seats!) and one-third of the U.S. Senate, NAR will be monitoring hundreds of races to make sure pro-REALTOR® candidates have our full support.
And speaking of support—thanks again to all our members! Because of your support, our voice is one of the loudest and most respected in Washington. And the results show!