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Policy Issues Top of Mind as REALTORS® Head to Washington

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Capitol_Building_Washington_DCThis week nearly 8,500 REALTORS® from across the country will advocate policies that impact the residential and commercial real estate markets during the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo. REALTORS® will meet with legislators, congressional and regulatory staff, as well as top industry executives during the meetings, which run here through May 17.

REALTORS® work tirelessly to protect and advance investment in residential and commercial property and we want to make sure our voices are heard in our nation’s capital, says National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown.

This year’s REALTORS® Party Convention & Trade Expo will focus on critical real estate issues such as preserving the mission and accessibility of the Federal Housing Administration’s loan programs, protecting real estate-related tax policies, and reforming the secondary mortgage market. REALTORS® are excited to bring these important issues to lawmakers this week.

In addition to meetings with legislators and congressional and regulatory staff, Realtors® will be conducting in-person meetings with Obama administration officials, including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray and senior leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

REALTORS® will also attend sessions with numerous government officials and industry experts, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante, news anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews, political strategists David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt, and Move, Inc. (operator of realtor.com®) CEO Steve Berkowitz. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will also share residential and commercial real estate market outlooks.

This week is important, not only because REALTORS® want to ensure their points-of-view on important real estate issues are heard, but also to remind our country’s leaders of the vital role that real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of this nation, says Brown. REALTORS® want to ensure public policies that promote responsible, sustainable investment in real estate and make sure any changes to current programs or incentives don’t jeopardize a full housing and economic recovery.

During meetings on Capitol Hill, REALTORS® will be urging support for legislation that could be taken up on the Senate floor this week to reinstate an expired tax provision that provides relief to individuals following a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expired at the end of 2013, and assured individuals would not have to pay income tax on forgiven mortgage debt. REALTORS® believe that distressed homeowners who’ve suffered through the loss of their home should not be further burdened with additional income taxes and urge Congress to act quickly on the issue.

REALTORS® will also be actively engaging with lawmakers about restructuring the secondary mortgage market as Senators take up a bill to reform government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says Brown.

A Senate committee could vote this week on legislation introduced by Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, called the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Fairness Act.  The legislation parallels many of NAR’s long-standing principles for reform.

For recaps of forums and the latest news from the conference, visit NAR’s Realtor® Party Live website pages.

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