The Colorado Association of Home Builders began its Bringing Housing Home meetings with members of the Colorado Congressional delegation in early May. The meetings are part of a NAHB nationwide program to engage members of Congress in their districts, not in Washington, so that the members can hear directly from homebuilders. During each meeting, CAHB leaders were able to discuss housing concerns in Colorado and specific federal issues impacting homebuilding across the Centennial State.
So far, CAHB has met with Senator Cory Gardner and Representatives Ed Perlmutter, Dianna DeGette, and Scott Tipton. We are meeting with Rep. Mike Coffman today, and will meet with Rep. Ken Buck in early June. In addition, we presented Senator Gardner and Representatives Perlmutter and Tipton with the NAHB Defender of Housing Award. The biannual award recognizes federal legislators who have showed strong support for housing and NAHB positions on key issues facing the industry. Representatives Coffman and Buck will also receive the NAHB Defender awards during our meetings with them.
During the Bringing Housing Home meetings, CAHB leaders focused on the following issues:
- Flood Insurance – After a number of short-term extensions, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire on July 31. NAHB is advocating that Congress ensures the NFIP does not lapse and that Senators and House members work on a long-term reauthorization bill.
- Softwood Lumber – Since U.S. homebuilders import a third of the lumber they need and about 95 percent of that lumber comes from Canada, it’s critical that Congress urges the Trump Administration to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada. In addition, NAHB believes that Congress should consider ways to increase the domestic supply of timber from public lands.
- Housing finance reform – NAHB is asking Congress to approve legislation to establish a new secondary market system for conventional mortgages with a limited, well-defined federal backstop for catastrophic circumstances. This will increase the availability of affordable 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for homebuyers.
- Immigration/workforce – NAHB is supporting workforce training and higher education support programs, as well as additional visas for temporary workers. NAHB also believes that Congress should address immigration issues in a commonsense manner that aids the workforce needs of industry.
- Permitting reform – NAHB supports efforts by the Trump Administration and Congress to establish a permitting system that prevents federal agencies from needlessly delaying projects. This includes allowing homebuilders to consult with a single agency on permitting in order to reduce the time and resources needed to obtain a federal permit.
During the Bringing Housing Home meetings, CAHB specifically asked Congressional members to sign a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The letter—requesting that the United States returns to the negotiating table with Canada to reach a new softwood lumber agreement—has been signed by Representatives Buck, Coffman, DeGette and Perlmutter. We will continue to work on signatures from Colorado’s delegation to help ensure that the Softwood Lumber Agreement is renewed in order to safeguard both the supply and price of lumber from our northern neighbor.
As you know, Colorado’s primaries will take place on June 26, with important primaries on both the Republican and Democratic sides for governor, as well as primaries for the Fifth and Sixth Congressional districts, attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and General Assembly seats. CAHB will update members on the outcome of these races and what they mean for the Election Day in November.
CAHB continues to work as part of a collation to defeat Initiative 66, the so called limited-growth measure, and we will have a more detailed update in the next member update email. But rest assured, CAHB and our partners, through Coloradans For Responsible Reform (CFRR), have been preparing and are ready to defeat the measure should it make the ballot.