NAR has worked exceptionally hard this fall to ensure that the laws and policies in Washington support our members and their businesses. In the three weeks that Congress was in session between mid-September and October 1st, REALTORS® succeeded on three major pieces of legislation.
First, we urged Congress to pass the “Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010.” It will lend up to $30 billion to community banks to make loans to small businesses as well as provide $12 million in tax relief to small businesses.
Since many of us are small business owners ourselves, we could be eligible for one of these loans and the tax breaks. Commercial practitioners can also point their clients to these loans to help close a deal. We all know the commercial sector is in great need of more liquidity and this legislation is a direct answer to that.
Second, Congress unanimously passed a one-year extension for the National Flood Insurance Program. Since September 2008, Congress had extended the program eight times and let it expire twice. Getting a one year extension is enormous progress! And while we’re pleased with it, we will continue our work on this issue by asking Congress for a longer extension and much needed reforms to the program.
Lastly, Congress approved a nine-month extension for the FHA and GSE loan limits. By pushing for this extension, REALTORS® are standing up for consumers and the U.S. economy. We want to keep housing affordable for all households right now. Our economy is still struggling and our industry is in a fragile recovery. Maintaining the higher loan limits helps keep housing affordable and helps provide stability in the marketplace.
Three weeks. Three wins. I’m very proud of our progress. I want to thank all of the Federal Political Coordinators who visited with their members of Congress to help get these laws passed.
While we’re talking about Washington, I want to remind you that we have less than three weeks until Election Day. Everything you need to know about the election is posted on the voter portal on the Realtor Action Center. You can register to vote, see how many REALTORS® are registered in your area and see who NAR is supporting this year.
It’s always a difficult choice, but RPAC supports legislators from both parties who understand and support our business.
I encourage you to do your homework on who’s running in your area and who supports strong real estate policies. Then get out and vote with the REALTOR® Party on Nov. 2! Need some more encouragement? Just listen to your colleagues.
Three weeks from now—if we elect more REALTOR® Champions to Washington—think of the progress we can make in the 52 weeks in 2011. — Vince Malta, 2010 NAR VP and Liaison to Government Affairs