June 22, 2017
Illinois Hits the Hill
Bill Ward, Executive Vice President, HBAI
Illinois was well represented at the 2017 NAHB Legislative Conference (LegCon) held on June 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 16 members of NAHB from the Land of Lincoln participated in a one day marathon of meetings that included 12 House and 2 Senate meetings.
Our day started in crisis as news of the ballpark shooting rocked our morning briefing session which prohibited U.S. Vice President Mike Pence from addressing our congregation. Undeterred, our association went forth into the day still meeting with our congressional members who were open for business with few cancellations.
Illinois U.S. Representative Peter Roskam addressed our morning session on the issue of federal tax reform, noting that the last time this was accomplished was in 1986 when President Reagan was very popular but still needed three opportunities to get a bill to his desk.
Roskam made the statement that the federal tax code is “longer than the Bible but with none of the good news.” Unraveling this complicated code will take more cooperation in the beltway than what currently exists.
Left to Right: Mitch Levinson, Carolyn Brick, Michael Menn, Mike Nagel, Bill Ward, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton), Scott Sevon, Allen Drewes, Kevin Chaffin, Pete Stefani, and Ed Brady.
NAHB addressed Congressional members on the following topics:
- Saving the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID)
- Saving Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and the 30 year mortgage
- Reforming our federal rulemaking process
- Address lumber shortage and price increase due to tariff on Canadian lumber
- Continue National Flood Insurance Program
- Limit Dept. of Energy Advocacy on Energy Conservation Code
- And much more.
The Illinois delegation took the halls of Congress at 10:30 am and didn’t come out until their meetings were done after 5:00 pm. An NAHB LegCon Reception followed at our home hotel, the Wardman Marriott, where we cooled our heals and quenched our thirsts.
Greater Southwest Illinois HBA meets with Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), L to R: Tracy Butler, Bost, Jan Johnson, and Doug Sutton.
One of our last meetings of the day was with U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Springfield) in his Capitol Building office. Durbin agreed with us on saving the MID and the GSEs, but gave some pushback on saving national flood insurance for new construction.
Builders meet with Durbin, L to R: Isabel Grabowski, Michael Bezruki, Paul Colgan, Kevin Chaffin, Durbin, Allen Drewes, Bill Ward, Ed Brady, and Pete Stefani.
Considering how the day began, this was still a great day for home builders and progress was made on our issues. Thanks to all who made the trek to Washington on behalf of our entire association.