Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

This week two federal online piracy bills garnered significant media attention when a number of popular websites went dark in opposition to the legislation. The bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) H.R. 3261 and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) S. 968 are intended to address the problem of foreign websites that facilitate the downloading of digital content like movies and music.

At the conclusion of 2011, Congress passed and forwarded to the President for his signature the “Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011”. The primary purpose of this legislation was to extend temporarily: (1) payroll tax relief, (2) unemployment compensation provisions, and (3) healthcare provisions. The estimated costs of the temporary extensions is $192.5 billion.

This week the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) met with senior staff for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Real Estate Owned (REO) Department.

On January 4, 2012, The Federal Reserve released a white paper, entitled “The U.S. Housing Market: Current Conditions and Policy Considerations.” In the paper, the Fed said that continued weakness in the housing market poses barriers to a more vigorous economic recovery.

Moe Veissi, the 2012 President of the National Association of Realtors, sent a letter to Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requesting that investors be permitted to participate in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Section 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program to purchase vacant and foreclosed properties in need of significant rehabilitation.

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