As I near the end of my term as NAHB chairman, I’m pleased to report that we scored major legislative, regulatory, and legal victories in 2015 that will keep the industry moving ahead. These wins were a team effort and demonstrate our power when we work together.
In mid-December, Congress rolled out the 2016 tax extenders and omnibus bills, which included important spending, labor, and tax provisions that will help our industry. (For more on this news, visit nahbnow.com and search for “tax extenders” and “omnibus bill.”)
We also secured many wins throughout the year. For instance, we made major progress in our fight against the ill-advised “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule issued by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The rule went into effect on Aug. 28, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit enacted a nationwide stay on Oct. 9.
On the legislative side, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require the EPA to withdraw the burdensome, confusing rule. The Senate decided against taking up similar legislation, but passed the Congressional Review Act resolution that also would require the agency to abandon the regulation.
NAHB achieved another important victory when it convinced the Army Corps of Engineers to back off on sweeping new floodplain standards that could have had a dramatic impact on home building and development.
In January 2015, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to expand federal floodplain management requirements far beyond the 100-year floodplain. In response, NAHB members voiced concerns about the order’s potential impact on federal permits and programs that builders and developers use. As a result of our efforts, the Army Corps will not be applying the floodplain requirements to Clean Water Act wetland permits. Similarly, FEMA will not apply the requirements to the National Flood Insurance Program, and HUD has indicated that the standard will not apply to FHA insurance of single-family mortgages.
NAHB also introduced or improved upon many programs and services in 2015. We unveiled a new website, which contains the most current and relevant content on housing and the association. We also launched the Field Representative Program, which placed staff experts in five regions across the country to help HBAs and members better leverage the federation’s offerings. We’re now bringing on seven more staff members—five in the field and two at NAHB headquarters.
Last year, we co-located the International Builders’ Show (IBS) with other shows for the second annual Design & Construction Week. Building on this success, in 2016 we’ll partner with three shows: the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, the International Surface Event, and the International Window Coverings Expo.
We achieved all this—and more—by joining forces at the local, state, and national levels. Thanks to these efforts, NAHB members are informed, connected, and saving big while providing homes for families across the country.
I’ve enjoyed leading the NAHB through such a productive, successful year. I’m inspired by your commitment to this association and to our industry. Thank you for the opportunity to have served as chairman.