The National Association of Home Builders, angered by the dropping of several key provisions it lobbyed for in the recently passed economic stimulus package, has decided to hit members of Congress where it hurts most: at the trough where they gorge on handouts from Political Action Committees.
The NAHB has cut them off.
The NAHB was the third-largest contributor to federal candidates during the 2006 election cycle, according to opensecrets.org, which tracks data from the Federal Election Commission. During that cycle, it spent $2.9 million, with 73% going to Republicans and 26% going to Democrats.
NAHB is currently number 17 on opensecrets.org's list of the top 20 PACs by contributions, with $865,800 disbursed to federal candidiates during the 2008 election cycle to date. It was split 55% for Republicans, 45% for Democrats.
"Today, the National Association of Home Builders' Political Action Committee, BUILD-PAC, and its 150-member Board of Trustees representing all 50 states, agreed to cease all approvals and disbursements of BUILD-PAC contributions to federal congressional candidates and their PACs until further notice," said Brian Catalde, president of NAHB, on Tuesday. "This extraordinary action was taken because the NAHB BUILD-PAC Board of Trustees felt that over the past six months Congress and the Administration have not adequately addressed the underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing sector and keep the economy moving forward. Housing and related industries account for more than 16% of the Gross Domestic Product. More needs to be done to jump-start housing and ensure the economy does not fall into a recession."
The NAHB was lobbying Congress to include in the stimulus package a tax carryback provision that would have allowed the write-off of losses going back five years instead of the current three. It also sought federal approval for cities and states to issue tax-exempt mortgage bonds to refinance existing loans to help troubled borrowers. And it sought a two-year increase in conforming loan limits for Fannie, Freddie and FHA. All three provisions were stripped from the version of the bill drawn up by the Senate Finance Committee and left out of the final bill, with the latter provision reduced to a one-year raise in conforming loan limits.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Bush today.