The Washington Report covers legislative and regulatory policy activities, and is compiled by NAR's Government Affairs policy staff. To receive this content via email, subscribe to NAR's Weekly Report newsletter and check the "legislative & regulatory issues" box.
On March 14, 2013, the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Examining the Role of Lower-Skilled Guest Worker Programs in Today’s Economy,” which discussed H-2B visas. This visa program meets demands for lower-skilled jobs not filled by Americans by providing temporary visas for non-agricultural workers.
As is required by law, the FHA recently alerted Congress that they have utilized 75% of their commitment authority for multifamily insured loans.
On March 4, 2013, NAR, along with 50 other members of the Coalition For Sensible Housing Policy, submitted a letter to federal regulators asking that the standards used in the recently released Qualified Mortgage rule (QM) be used to define the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM).
On February 27, Reps. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Jason E. Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced HR 845 Known as the SHEILD Act. This legislation is intended to reduce litigation by “patent trolls” by making them liable for alleged infringers' court costs and attorneys' fees if their patents are found invalid or not infringed.
NAR President Gary Thomas last week testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the importance of FHA in housing markets.
The March 1 date for implementing across the board federal budget cuts arrived with no action to delay or forestall the cuts. The automatic reductions will affect most government programs and could result in periodic furloughs of government employees.
NAR, with other industry groups, sent a letter to the Congressional leaders, urging them to update the definition of "rural" in order to retain vital RHS housing programs in more than 900 rural communities.
On Monday, February 25th, 2013, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission released a report titled, "Housing America's Future: New Directions for National Policy". This product was the culmination of 16-months of research and study.
NAR submitted comments on the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (QM) concurrent proposal seeking guidance on the calculation of fees and points and other matters such as rural mortgage access and non-profit lending.
Recently, the news media reported that national flood insurance rates could increase to $30,000 a year.