Ben Gann took over his role as the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities last month. Here’s his first HCN Q&A:
HCN: What are the key issues you’re pushing right now?
Gann: One of the issues we are very focused on is restoration and extension of the residential energy efficiency (25C) tax credit. That is set to expire at the end of the year. We are also pursuing a legislative fix regarding compliance with the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. In addition, we are also working with Congress to extend the current Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration loan limits of $729,750, set to expire Oct. 1. If Congress does not act, the base limit will remain at $417,000, but the formula for establishing limits for high-cost areas will drop to $625,500.
HCN: What is the one thing dealers can do to help their own case in D.C.?
Gann: The one thing right now is dealers should contact their representative in the House and ask for their support of an amendment (Section 450 of H.R. 2584) by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), in the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bill would withhold enforcement and implementation of funding for the EPA’s LRRP Rule until the EPA follows its own regulations and approves a commercially available lead test kit, as mandated by the LRRP.
HCN: Who is your all-time favorite Congressman?
Gann: That’s a tough question. I don’t know that I have an all-time favorite. There are some members for which I have a great deal of respect. Keeping it strictly to members of Congress who are now retired, and that I am from Ohio, I thought Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) did a good job of fighting for what he believed in but was willing to work with the other side of the aisle. On the Democratic side, Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) had a distinguished military career and was an astronaut before he served four terms in the Senate. He just has a remarkable record of service to his country.