Problem Solvers Caucus Seeks Bipartisan Housing Solutions

Filed in Capitol Hill by on February 21, 2019 1 Comment
Problem Solvers Caucus Co-chairs

From left, 2019 NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.)

In a roundtable discussion moderated by 2019 Chairman Greg Ugalde during the NAHB Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas, Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) expressed support for working together on a bipartisan basis to advance housing issues.

Reed and Gottheimer are the co-chairs of the influential Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 24 Republican and 24 Democratic lawmakers dedicated to finding common ground and breaking the partisan gridlock in Congress.

“We’re the only bipartisan group in Washington, D.C. that is organized,” said Gottheimer. “We will vote as a block when we get to a consensus position and we are making a difference.”

When asked by Ugalde what issues the Problem Solvers Caucus would be willing tackle, Reed responded: “Housing affordability is a very important issue.” He called for removing red tape on zoning and working to create economic opportunities for builders on the ground.

“Housing is a great issue that we will certainly look at to see what can be done there,” added Gottheimer. “We can be a great testing ground for this issue.”

The lawmakers are open to growing the ranks of their caucus, but want to make sure they find the right representatives who are willing to work across the political aisle to get things done.

“We talk to a lot of folks about joining, but want people who are willing to ‘walk the walk,’” said Gottheimer. “On any given issue we can be a swing vote. That’s what matters and why we are at the table.”

Infrastructure, stabilizing the health care market under the Affordable Care Act and prescription drug prices are other areas the Problem Solvers Caucus may look to address, said Reed.

Summing up the group’s philosophy, Reed said: “We’re living in a time where there is obstructionism. We put country first.”

 

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  1. Jay Murdoch says:

    The home builders (NAHB & LBA) have huge and ready to deploy armies that have remained on the sidelines for nearly a decade in this fight around housing finance and other drags (college loan debt) on getting housing back to rational and historic numbers.

    Who are these armies? It’s the entire subcontractor sector (plumbers, electricians, framers & trim carpenters, drywallers, roofers, tile, flooring and carpet installers, insulators, etc) as the first wave; then the supply chain, lumberyards & retailers as the second wave; the equipment and product manufacturers as the third; and the raw material suppliers to the manufacturers as the fourth. These numbers dwarf the footprint of the home builders and reach much deeper into Congressional districts than many home builders themselves. Per a 2015 NHB study, “builders use somewhere between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build the average single-family home.”
    https://www.nahbclassic.org/generic.aspx?sectionID=734&genericContentID=247385&channelID=311

    These subcontractors and suppliers likely reach into the home of their Congressional leader and district home office staffers more than builders because they are replacing kitchen and bath cabinets, painting, doing tile work, reroofing and other improvements or repairs. Imagine if all of these trades and suppliers had one single set of talking points to share per the drag on jobs in housing? Imagine if their invoice told a story of how much more work they would have, and people they could hire, if the handcuffs on the nation’s biggest economic engine were relaxed in rational ways?

    Further, in some circles on Capitol Hill, there’s not a great perception of the home builder. Often it’s not the message that doesn’t land well, it’s who the messenger is. By including the various trade contractors and local suppliers, you better demonstrate that this drag on the economy flows all the way down to small businesses and yes – individual households. You need to put another face to this issue — the humble subcontractor.

    In going it alone, the builders are only using a tiny fraction of their assets in this campaign. The rank and file subcontractors, suppliers, and product manufacturers are not even in the arena, let alone on the sidelines of the playing field. How do you change that? Just ask for help.

    The next NAHB legislative day is the perfect time to have these trade allies get engaged and meet in local Congressional district offices to deliver their messages as small businesses — which fully align with the builders. Yes, bring some subcontractors to Washington DC for meetings on Capitol Hill, but keeping it local keeps it real and allows many more trades and suppliers to participate and feel like they are having an impact. In fact, here’s a radical idea,,,, the builders should be wallpaper going forward — let the trades and supply chain carry the load and deliver the message to legislators and policymakers.

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