Visits to Capitol Hill for legislation lobbying began today at the 2014 Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference, hosted by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA)

Held in Arlington, Va, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, attendees were briefed on lobbying basics before listening to Sen Ron Johnson (R-Wis) and Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), explain why it’s such an important time for door, window and lumber companies to take an active political role

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Sen</p/><figcaption id=Ron Johnson (R-Wis) told attendees the size and scope of government is limiting their business success” src=”http://wwwdwmmagcom/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/johnsonjpg” width=”300″ height=”290″ /> Sen Ron Johnson (R-Wis) told attendees the size and scope of government is limiting their business success


Johnson began by telling attendees that we now live in a society that is against business

“Let’s not demonize business—let’s celebrate it

Let’s incentivize it,” he said

The current governmental structure is dysfunctional, Johnson stated, particularly government benefits

“We don’t have a 10-year budget problem; we have a 30-year demographic problem,” he said, referring to the baby boomers who will soon retire and claim benefits

Johnson noted that the size and scope of the government and regulation is having a stifling effect on business no matter how well-intentioned some of this control and spending may be, it’s not helping us

“How do we get to a point in this country where business is evil

Where we demagogue against our free market competitive system?” he asked

Johnson said the system of check and balances begins at the ballot

“The best check is an informed public”

Knowing how broken the governmental system is, he asked, “Do you really want to continue to grow it? Do you want it taking over healthcare?

“I think that is a monumentally bad idea and my mission is to try and convince as many Americans as possible that it is a bad idea so they start demanding the power back,” he said

Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders said housing is on its way to recovery</p/><figcaption id=” src=”http://wwwdwmmagcom/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/howardjpg” width=”300″ height=”295″ /> Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders said housing is on its way to recovery

Next, Howard updated attendees on the current political climate as well as where NAHB sees the housing recovery

Howard, who said he began as a tax attorney, told attendees he sees many similarities today compared to 1984-1986 including a split Congress

He said that tax reform, just as with the Reagan administration, seems to be at the forefront of the discussion

“What we’re seeing is people are saying they’re going to introduce tax reform … What’s lacking right now is the presidential initiative behind it,” Howard stated

“Will president Obama do that? That’s anybody’s guess right now … Reagan thought to do something grand so he embraced tax reform What better way for Obama to reduce some of these headwinds he’s facing than to embrace reform?”

He quickly noted though that President Obama, “Doesn’t seem to have the fire in his belly and that could be good for us,” referring to the upcoming elections and conservative candidates

Turning to the housing market, Howard said that, “One of the reasons the housing recovery has been so sluggish is because of the lack of a capital,” adding that the government has left housing finance in limbo for the past five years

“The only way out now is to redo the housing finance system”

As for the current housing state, Howard stated that the weather, as well as labor and supply shortages, resulting from plant and company closures during the recession, had a major impact on the industry so far this year

As a result, NAHB has revised its forecast to just under one million units He added that by 2016, “We do believe we’ll be well over a million units … It’s going to take us three or four years to get there, but we’re on the road to recovery

“Much of the talk during the depression that home ownership is dead reminded me of the talk in the ‘60s that God is dead,” he said

“That wasn’t true then and this isn’t true now”

Following the guest remarks, members planning to lobby were divided by association and briefed on the issues they’d be discussing during today’s visits

For WDMA, members lobbying plan to discuss EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) as well as the Shaheen-Portman energy legislation

Specifically for LRRP, those lobbying will address legislation that restores the opt-out provision and prohibits EPA from expanding the rule to include commercial and public buildings For energy legislation, WDMA members are requesting that green building systems are neutral and follow Green Globes 2010, which is more flexible than LEED for vinyl and wood

In addition to LRRP and energy legislation, NLBMDA members lobbying will address support for the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act and support for online sales tax fairness

The conference began Monday with closed member meetings, including a luncheon with guest speaker Tucker Carlson

Lobbying on Capitol Hill began today and continues through tomorrow, with an evening reception tonight for congressional members A board of directors meeting also will be held tomorrow

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