My wife and I are raising three teenagers, and we are constantly nagging them to finish their homework. It seems that they are never truly motivated to finish their assignments until they are pushing up against a deadline. Lately, Congress acts very much in the same manner, only acting in crisis mode at the 11th hour. However, while our teenagers are rushing to complete their assignments to meet deadlines, Congress has been merely securing extensions to meet theirs.
I have one huge wish for the New Year and our new Congress: Please, no more extensions and last minute band-aid fixes for important issues that that require long-term solutions. The 112th Congress will have several assignments that have been left undone by their predecessors that are of great importance to the housing industry and our economy.
First, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s)—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—have been in conservatorship since September 2008. The Administration is due to release its blueprint for GSE reform in January. Hopefully, this will jumpstart the debate for Congress to work on a long-term reform plan for these entities. NAR will continue to advocate for position on GSE reform to ensure there is adequate capital in all types of mortgage markets and in all market conditions.
Second, the National Flood Insurance Program has been operating under a series of nine short-term extensions. Even though the NFIP has been extended to September 30, 2011, Congress allowed the program to lapse twice times for weeks at a time and has not addressed key issues for its long-term fiscal solvency. NAR will continue to push for a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP to issue flood insurance policies, which are required in order to obtain a mortgage in nearly 20,000 communities nationwide.
Lastly, I wish Congress would please finish its work and provide much needed FHA reforms and make permanent higher conforming loan limits for high cost states.
If Congress can finish their assignments, the American people can finally graduate to a housing economy built upon true market confidence and sustained economic growth. – Vince Malta, 2011 NAR Vice President and Liaison to Committees