President Fails to Tackle Housing in State of the Union AddressFebruary 9th, 2023 by Editor
President Joe Biden delivered his annual State of the Union address Tuesday, touting accomplishments ranging from economic recovery and record-low unemployment to a new bipartisan infrastructure law.
“Two years ago, the economy was reeling,” the president told a joint session of Congress. “I stand here tonight, after we’ve created, with the help of many people in this room, 12 million new jobs.”
To meet the needs of over 20,000 infrastructure projects, the president also announced new standards requiring all construction materials for those projects be made in America, including such materials as lumber, glass, drywall and fiber-optic cable.
Manufacturing has been a driver in reaching an unemployment rate of 3.4%, he said, adding, “We’ve already created, with your help, 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs—the fastest growth in 40 years.” In the past, too many of those jobs were relocated overseas, he suggested, adding, “Factories closed down. Once-thriving cities and towns that many of you represent became shadows of what they used to be.”
A new bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act designed to spur domestic production of microchips is also expected to add “hundreds of thousands of new jobs,” he said, following more than $300 billion in investments over the next few years. With such an influx of additional jobs, Americans will need to be met with additional resources, he said, including new homes. But in his speech, the president missed a golden opportunity, by failing to address what some experts now describe as a “housing recession,” suggested Alicia Huey, chairperson for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). By urging, “Let’s also finish the job and get more Americans access to affordable housing,” the president offered a brief rallying call, but no concrete discussion, Huey pointed out.
“The nation’s homebuilders could not agree more,” she said, adding, “The lack of attainable, affordable housing in both the single-family and multifamily markets affects tens of millions of households nationwide, and easing the affordability crisis should be a top priority for the White House and Congress.”
NAHB will continue to work with policymakers throughout the government and private sectors to address a housing supply crisis, Huey assured. The association’s goals include boosting production of affordable housing and achieving some price stability in the for-sale and rental markets.