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Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration’

Revised Q2 GDP Reflects Early Results for Trump Economic Agenda vs. Obama Administration

September 29th, 2017 Comments off

USEconomyStableGrowing3.1Q2CNBCDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFlashback to the end of 2016, and as the chart below reflects, the U.S. economy was stalling.

There were economists who said that the nation was heading into a new recession.  That threat was looming on the heels of the weakest recovery from a recession in generations — and one where the federal government had essentially doubled the national debt during the 8 years of the Obama Administration.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when revised economic numbers from the Wall Street Journal and CNBC revealed that the U.S. economy had grown at a 3.1 percent rate in the second quarter.

What those reports often fail to note is the additional debt that was accumulated by the U.S. Treasury, in the twisted terminology known as QE – short of Quantitative Easing.

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Trillions in debt was purchased to buoy the markets.  As the right-leaning NYPost noted at the time, it was President Obama’s gift to the wealthy.

Despite the rhetoric, almost none prosecuted for the 2008 market meltdown during the Obama years.

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The ObamaNation Fed pumped up the stock market artificially through the QE process. That raised the markets, which benefited those who are investors. No wonder Wall Street barons are welcoming the now former president with similar high-dollar speaking fees that former President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton obtained.

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Tax Reform, Health Care, Immigration Reform Needed

Because the Executive Branch has a significant ability to influence existing regulation, President Trump’s numerous Executive Orders (EOs) have delivered about 16 regulatory roll backs for each new regulation put in place, per White House pressroom sources to MHProNews.

But numerous other items require Congress to act.  Those include:

On the last bullet above, both Republicans and Democrats have drug their feet on the immigration issue, but for somewhat different reasons. The U.S. Chamber has an interest in keeping wages low, and uses its influence in the GOP to accomplish that end.  Democrats, by contrast, see illegal as well as many legal immigrants as often becoming future voters in their identity politics voting block.

The Trump economic agenda is thus facing significant headwinds on Capitol Hill. While the final tax reform bill will likely not be as robust as the president might hope, inside-the-beltway sources in Washington D.C. tell MHProNews that the odds for passage of some economic boosting tax measure before the end of 2017 looks good. ## (News, analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Pew Research Facts Don’t Lie, How Productive has the Trump Administration Really Been?

August 31st, 2017 Comments off
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Featured image credit, Project Management Hacks.

With a lack of resolve on issues such as a “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare, much of the mainstream media makes it appear that the Trump Administration hasn’t done much of anything since January.

However, a new study from Pew Research Center tells a different story all together.

To date, Congress has passed 55 measures that have been signed into law, 46 of which we consider substantive by our deliberately generous criteria – that is, any legislation other than renaming buildings, awarding medals, commemorating historic events or taking other purely ceremonial actions.”

For this study, Pew Research Center counted all bills that received final legislative approval prior to the August recess, even if they were signed into law after the break.

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Image credit, Pew Research Center.

Of the 46 laws which were considered “substantive” there were “14 whose sole purpose was to overturn various rules adopted by the Obama administration, under the 1996 Congressional Review Act.”

The Trump Administration is the first to utilize the Congressional Review Act in this way. Previously, only one law had ever been undone through this procedure since the Act itself became law.

Those 14 resolutions of disapproval account for about 30% of the substantive laws, and a quarter of all the laws, enacted so far by this Congress.”

The chart to the right shows that over the years the number of laws enacted by Congress has fluctuated. However, it hit an all-time low since 1987 during the years of the 112th Congress (2011-12) with only 20 laws enacted in total.

The current Congress turns out to be the fifth most productive when it comes to enacting substantive laws – tied with the 110th Congress (2007-08).

While the Pew Research study found that while the Trump Administration might be light on signature legislation – such as repealing and replacing ObamaCare or tax reform – nevertheless, there are things happening in Congress.

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The Daily Business News has previously reported on how the economy is responding to the new administration in the first six months.

While Congress continues to debate over key issues like healthcare and tax reform, it’s untrue to say that they haven’t accomplished anything. Rather, this year Congress has been more productive than it has been in nearly a decade. Still, public polling shows Congressional approval just a fraction of what the president’s is. ## (News, analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

MHARR to Secretary Perry: Withdraw Unnecessary MH Energy Rule

March 13th, 2017 Comments off
MHARRtoSecretaryPerryWithdrawUnnecessaryMHEnergyRulecreditNuclearTownHall-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: DOE, MHARR.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews that it has formally called upon the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Gov. Rick Perry, to withdraw its proposed manufactured housing energy rule.

MHARR says that the proposed rule is “rooted in climate change activism and advanced by energy special interests through an illegitimate and scandal-plagued regulatory process, threatens to needlessly destroy the affordability of manufactured homes” and “simultaneously excludes millions of consumers from the manufactured housing market – and from home-ownership altogether.

According to MHARR, the proposed rule could increase the retail cost of an average multi-section manufactured home by $6,000.00 or more because regulatory compliance, testing and enforcement-related costs were never considered by DOE in developing the rule.

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DOE Secretary Rick Perry. Credit: Wikipedia.

MHARR has been on the record as an opponent of both the proposed DOE rule and the “fundamentally-tainted administrative process” that led to its adoption.

In a November 2016 letter, the organization called for the DOE “to cease and desist from any further activity on the proposed manufactured housing rule pursuant to Congress’ November 15, 2016 warning to all federal agencies against finalizing any pending rules or regulations in the Obama Administration’s last days.

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M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

The DOE manufactured housing ‘energy’ rule is a textbook example of a destructive, big government ‘solution’ in search of a problem. Manufactured homes, comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, already have median energy operating costs that are less than, or comparable to, other types of housing, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” said MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss.

To single out manufactured homes and their mostly lower and moderate-income buyers for what amounts to a huge, regressive tax that would devastate both them and the industry in order to satisfy special interests, is incomprehensible, indefensible and precisely the type of baseless, damaging federal regulation that President Trump has vowed to eliminate.

The full letter from Weiss to Secretary Rick Perry is linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHCC Recommends Significant Changes to HUD Frost Free Foundation Bulletin

December 14th, 2016 Comments off

HUDManufacturedHousingConsensusCommitteeMHCC-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) voted to recommend significant changes to a December 8, 2016 draft of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “Interpretive Bulletin” (IB) on requirements for so-called “frost-free” and “frost-protected” foundations in areas with freezing climates.

The action, by the full MHCC follows a November 28, 2016 meeting of the MHCC Regulatory and Enforcement Subcommittee, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews.

The Subcommittee, at that meeting, overwhelmingly rejected a motion which would have recommended that HUD use a 51-page report prepared by its installation contractor – SEBA Professional Services L.L.C. (SEBA) and consultants to SEBA.

Instead, noting the absence of an actual proposed IB at that meeting for review and debate, the Subcommittee adopted a resolution calling on HUD to “draft an Interpretive Bulletin before the December 12 MHCC teleconference taking into consideration the comments from the November 28 MHCC Regulatory Subcommittee teleconference.

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Credit: Northwest Housing Association.

Among the principal objections noted at the Subcommittee meeting – as previously highlighted by MHARR in an October 20, 2016 communication to HUD and verbally at the October 25-27, 2016 MHCC meeting in Washington, D.C. — was the SEBA report’s de facto substantive amendment to section 3285.312 (b)(2) and (3) of the federal installation standards to effectively equate “acceptable engineering practice” in the design of a frost-free/frost-protected foundation to the mandates and requirements of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reference standard 32.

Based on these and numerous other objections to the proposed IB and SEBA report, MHARR, in its December 9, 2016 comments – and during the MHCC conference call — urged the MHCC to “reject” the proposed IB with “instructions to specifically address the major concerns that have been raised regarding the substance, legitimacy and extremely harmful expected impacts of the IB and the allegedly supporting SEBA report.

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss. Credit: MHProNews.

MHARR states that with only four weeks remaining before the inauguration of a new president and a new administration, and with both Congress and the incoming president calling for a moratorium on all pending regulatory activity, there is no basis and no justification for a rush to judgment on new de facto regulations that would needlessly increase costs for consumers and effectively overturn the federal-state partnership envisioned by Congress for installation regulation, with the states having primary authority to regulate if they so choose.

Daily Business News coverage of MHARR’s call for a federal moratorium on critical regulations in the final days of the Obama Administration is linked here.

The full memo from MHARR regarding the MHCC is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Obama Administration: Unacceptable to Include Dodd-Frank Amendments in Appropriations Bill

December 2nd, 2015 Comments off

Jacob_Jack_Lew_treasury_secy_2015__wikipediaAs the deadline nears for the mega spending bills to be passed in Congress that will keep the government running, as MHProNews reported Nov. 26, 2015, the Obama administration has indicated it will push back against any attempt to substantially weaken the 2010 financial overhaul, according to the nytimes.

Congressional Republicans are seeking to soften parts of the Dodd-Frank Act that was enacted five years ago, and as MHProNews  knows, inadvertently erected barriers that hinder the buying and selling of manufactured homes. The spending bill must pass by Dec. 11 to avert a government shutdown.

Reaffirming the administration’s objections to any meaningful alterations of Dodd-Frank, Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Treasury, said in an email, “I have publicly made clear that my recommendation to the president would be that if there are legislative measures that will roll back the clock, that would take us back toward where we were before the financial crisis, I would recommend a veto.

Some members of Congress believe the administration will allow more wiggle room on financial regulation than on, say, its signature health care overhaul. In any case, if only a few concessions are gained, a path will have been set for more changes to Dodd-Frank next year.

Lew adds it is unacceptable to amend Dodd-Frank at the last minute on a must-pass bill, but the door is “open to conversations about technical changes or improvements in Dodd-Frank, but frankly, there are a lot of things masquerading as technical changes that are not.

In response, Jennifer Hing of the House Appropriations Committee that is helping to assemble the bill, said in an email, “The committee does not comment or speculate on funding levels or policy items that may or may not be included in future legislation.

In the run-up to the financial crisis, regulators had failed to properly ascertain the weaknesses of financial firms and pinpoint where large losses might occur. Dodd-Frank said banks worth $50 billion or more were required to withstand stress tests to make sure they could withstand another downturn.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R- Ala.) proposed legislation that raises the threshold to $500 billion, which would exclude many smaller banks, but leave the door open to selectively examining some smaller banks as needed. But Jeff Sigmund, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, said, “There is wide bipartisan agreement that some elements of Dodd-Frank warrant a second look. Regulation based solely — and arbitrarily — on asset size ignores careful risk management by banks, creating unnecessary costs and reducing services available to bank customers.

But critics of Sen. Shelby emphasized that banks smaller than $500 billion can still create havoc for the system as a whole, noting that Countryside Financial had assets of $200 billion. Daniel K. Tarullo, a governor of the Federal Reserve, says he would consider supporting raising the threshold to $100 billion.

Some congressional members want to alter the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a new regulatory body that would look for red flags indicating dangerous risks that may be accumulating in the system, saying the council lacks transparency and accountability.

Writing in rollcall, as MHProNews posted Aug. 19, 2015, Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Dr. Lesli Gooch said, “The Dodd-Frank Act is preventing everyday Americans from accessing the financing they need to purchase quality manufactured homes they can afford in the communities where they live and work. This is occurring because many lenders had to stop making manufactured home loans when the Dodd-Frank Act classified the loans as ‘high-cost.’ Ironically, the loans receive this negative classification because they are small loans, reflecting the fact that manufactured homes are less expensive and more affordable.

AS MHProNews posted Nov. 26, 2015, Dr. Gooch said,The language (of S. 682) could catch a ride on the must-pass omnibus Appropriations package as a policy rider because the bill was included in the Senate’s Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill (section 909 of S. 1910) in July.

In the midst of a national affordable housing crisis, it is unconscionable that federal rules are limiting access to credit for affordable, quality housing,says Dr. Gooch, in the Aug. 19 post. 

MHProNews  will have a featured article on this topic in the December issue, scheduled to go live on the home page late Tuesday or Wednesday morning. A recently produced article and video interview on MHLivingNews.com – and picked up by mainstream media websites and advocacy websites – about this topic are linked here ##

(Photo credit: wikipediacommons-Jacob Lew, Secretary of the U. S. Treasury)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Busines News-MHProNews.

Former Head of Ginnie Mae does not Envision GSE Reform Soon

November 11th, 2015 Comments off

joseph_murin__former_ginnie_mae_prez_and_ceo__scotsmanguide__creditThe former president and CEO of Ginnie Mae, Joseph Murin, said the Obama administration is not looking to recapitalize GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, preferring to leave them as a conservatorship from which funds can be extracted as needed. Also, he does not believe reform of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) will occur under the next administration, scotsmanguide reports.

The Treasury is using them as a cash cow to use their cash flows for other areas of the federal government, where the administration feels that they need funding,” Murin said. “It is a deliberate strategy to be able to keep the GSEs where they are today, let them continue to earn and to transfer those earnings over to the Treasury.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the administration does not want to release the GSEs from conservatorship now would it consider allowing them to retain earnings. He said President Obama wants Congress to take up housing finance reform so taxpayers would not be unduly exposed to risk.

Noting that the status quo is the administration’s policy, Murin does not believe any major reforms to the GSEs will be adopted, although he says it might be more likely with a Republican presidency, but adds, “I think they will continue to kick the can down the road,” Murin said. “Everybody is pointing to a new administration in 2017. However, I am not sure that is something that is in the cards.

He says some mortgage industry people and Civil Rights groups want the GSEs to recapitalize and release. Murin favors replacing Fannie and Freddie with one entity like Ginnie Mae, which insures mortgage securities backed by the federal government, like FHA, but does not purchase mortgages like the GSEs do. You cannot expect private capital to fill the void left by the absence of a government guarantee because without it, mortgage rates would spike 200 to 300 points. He said, “I don’t think that is ever going to happen, where the private marketplace takes over. The cost of liquidity under a private environment will be too high and it will impact in a negative manner the housing and mortgage market in this country.

The NAACP, the Community Home Lenders Association (CHLA) and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America (CMLA) all support a recapitalization of the GSEs. The NAACP and two other progressive groups are concerned that access to credit for lower-income borrowers is at risk under the status quo.

Mortgage trade groups are concerned Fannie and Freddie will be eliminated, especially since Freddie Mac reported a $475 million loss in Q3 2015, as MHProNews reported Nov. 4, 2015, a significant drop compared to net income of $4.2 billion in the same quarter of 2014. While the Treasury will not have to come to its rescue this time, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt predicted the GSEs will likely have to make draws against the Treasury as their capital reserves are decreased to zero by 2018.

CMLA Executive Director Glen Corso says taxpayer-funded bailouts could lead to the elimination of the GSEs. “There are folks out there that would like to see the GSEs shut down, and our concern is that gives them ammunition to argue that, ‘My God, they are at it again; they are losing money, let’s shut them down right now,’” Corso said. “Our members are very concerned about that.##

(Photo credit: scotsmanguide–Joseph Murin, former CEO and president of Ginnie Mae.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Promise Zones Set to Expand to other Struggling Communities

September 18th, 2014 Comments off

attention    canstockphoto.com  ceditThe next round of the Obama Administration’s Promise Zone applications will be discussed Friday, Sept. 19 at 11 AM eastern time by U. S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan. Part of the administration’s plan to develop new middle class members by garnering community resources and leaders to integrate housing, economic and educational opportunities, and reduce violent crime, the first five Promise Zones announced in January were San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma. “This is a sharp departure from the way the government provided aid in the past,” Shaun Donovan, the former HUD secretary said at the time, according to housingwire.com. “Washington would swoop in and impose solutions without working with local leaders to support their visions and strengthen all assets needed for communities to thrive. We want to bring together a wide variety of stake holders to better communities. Home is the foundation of all of our lives. Now we are going to connect housing with other efforts to expand opportunity.” MHProNews understands the importance of including residents in seeking solutions to community problems. ##

(Image credit: canstockphoto.com)

House to Sue President Obama, as Supreme Court Denies Birth Control Provision of ACA

June 30th, 2014 Comments off

U. S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) plans to introduce legislation that will allow the House to sue President Obama for unconstitutional overreach, according to nytimes.com. Allowing the House to sue through the House general counsel, the bill is in response to the president’s executive actions, including preventing the deportation of young illegal immigrants who came to the U. S. as children, rising the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors and allowing the curbing of carbon emissions from coal plants. Rep. Boehner says these issues are the responsibility of Congress to consider. “I believe the House must act as an institution to defend the constitutional principles at stake and to protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse,” he said in the letter. “The president has an obligation to faithfully execute the laws of our country.” MHProNews understands courts are generally reluctant to intervene in cases involving the executive and legislative branches of government.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has decided by a 5-4 vote that Hobby Lobby may opt out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on religious grounds that requires them to provide contraceptives to female employees, as MHProNews has learned.

In addition, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) says the Obama administration suffered their 12th defeat at the hands of the Supreme Court over the so-called recess appointments that were made when Congress was not actually in recess. Sen. Lee, quoted in nationalreview.com, says it is just the “tip of the iceberg” because there are other cases of President Obama exceeding his executive authority that have not made it to the Supreme Court yet. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says, “This marks the 12th time since January 2012 that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Obama administration’s calls for greater federal executive power,” he pointed out after the release of the recess-appointments ruling. He had previously said in April 2013, “When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their colleagues in unanimously rejecting the administration’s call for broader federal power nine times in 18 months, the inescapable conclusion is that the Obama administration’s view of federal power knows virtually no bounds.” ##

(Image credit: photographersdirect.com)

Label Fee to Rise under Budget Proposal

March 7th, 2014 Comments off

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) reports the Obama Administration’s 2015 budget proposes $10 million to fund the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards program, and HUD intends to increase the label fee to $100 per floor. Under the proposal, as MHProNews .com has learned, instead of justifying any fee increase and asking the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) to consider the change, HUD will seek a legislative change authorizing it to set future fee changes by sending a notice rather than by rulemaking. ##

(Image credit: Dean Hayes)

Will Housing Finance Reform Please come Forward? Or Not

January 10th, 2014 Comments off

Housing finance reform is expected to be at the top of the agenda in Congress at the beginning of the new session, but unless the initiatives move forward quickly, chances increase they will stall as the mid-term elections approach in November. The bi-partisan proposal introduced in the Senate will pare down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and establish a government backstop, according to nationalmortgagenews.com. This measure may form the backbone for legislation that is finally introduced by the Senate Banking Committee, but the question remains if it will take precedent over immigration reform, the budget and tax reform. Additionally, as James Ballantine of the American Bankers Association (ABA) says, when will the Obama administration weigh in on the measure. He says, “Once you start getting a sense that that type of legislation has momentum, it may attract some barnacles that you won’t be able to take off and that could be to the detriment of the legislation.”

Meanwhile in the House, a more conservative plan, the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act, did pass out of the banking panel but stalled before it got to the House floor. Some analysts say its failure to reach the floor reflects a division in the Republican caucus on a bill that is very unpopular with the housing industry. However, as MHProNews has learned, if the Senate begins moving its bill forward, the House may respond by moving the PATH Act to the fore, and pass it in order to maintain negotiating power with the Senate’s version of housing finance reform.

(Image credit: Fotosearch–question mark houses)