Tourists have been flooding Washington to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossoms in and around the National Mall and Tidal Basin. Each spring, this forces the average Washingtonian to develop a strategy for navigating the metro, driving, grabbing lunch or even taking a simple walk downtown. We can’t complain, however, because spring has also brought key legislative success for the multifamily industry. So with lawmakers on a two-week recess we wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our recent legislative accomplishments.
Most notably, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo’s, R-Idaho, housing finance reform bill is moving forward with markup scheduled and possibly a vote for the week Congress returns. The bill recognizes the unique aspects of multifamily for the first time and maintains many of the successful components of the multifamily programs currently operating at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. NMHC/NAA worked closely with the White House, members of the Senate Banking Committee, Treasury, HUD, and the National Economic Council on the bill. And this week we issued an analysis of the legislation from a multifamily perspective.
In addition, as we reported last week, the Senate took the first step towards reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act before it expires at the end of the year. Apartment owners and developers are required by most lenders to have a policy in place on existing properties, as well as future development projects, so this is great news for the multifamily industry. NMHC/NAA have been working with our real estate partners in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism to advance legislation as soon as possible.
President Obama also signed the flood insurance bill into law last month, easing the flood insurance premium rates that Congress enacted in 2012 as part of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The law slows down the rate of premium increases overall and reinstates the “grandfathering” provisions of the National Flood Insurance Program. NMHC/NAA was integrally involved in the process, sending detailed letters of support on both the House and Senate bills that led to law.
The remainder of spring will continue to be busy as we work to inform lawmakers about all of our NMHC/NAA legislative and policy priorities this year.