Congress comes to the Summit

Three members of the House of Representatives – a Democrat and two Republicans – brought similar messages of support for the lumber and building material industry to the ProDealer Industry Summit. Legislation to support affordable housing and common sense protection from predatory lawsuits were among the congressional rallying points.

Delivering brief video presentations to the attendees of the ProDealer Industry Summit, Jackie Walorski (R - Ind.), Pete Stauber. (R - Minn.) and Suzan DelBene (D - Wash.) participated in the virtual session “Washington Insider Briefing.

DelBene described the virtues of the affordable housing credit improvement act.

The act “would create over a half a million additional affordable homes nationwide over the next 10 years. We have a bipartisan majority of cosponsors for our bill  because affordable housing is not a red or blue state issue or a rural or urban issue it’s an American issue. “

Expanding on DelBene’s message, Walorski said she was working to include affordable housing provisions in the next economic relief and stimulus package.

“During this uncertain time, we need to provide project flexibility and boost financial resources to help at-risk developments move forward in rural areas that are difficult to serve,” she said. “A strong lumber and building material industry will put our economy in the best position for our economic recovery.”

And touching on a theme emphasized earlier in the conference by the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association’s Kevin McKenney, director of government affairs, she called for protection from frivolous lawsuits that may erupt from the pandemic.

“We also need to provide common sense liability protection for businesses that safely reopen so they are not targeted for predatory lawsuits,” Walorski said.

Describing a duty to guard against burdensome regulations, Stauber raised his voice in support of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, as well as the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act. He said the latter “creates a tax credit directed at homeowners to help them repair or construct homes in distressed communities where important repairs are often neglected due to lack of economic incentive to build or remodel homes.”

As for lawsuit protection, Stauber added his voice to the chorus: “Businesses have worked too hard to stay open during these difficult times, and we cannot allow them to be forced into closure by unreasonable lawsuits.”

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