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MHI 2010 Scorecard

December 12th, 2010 No comments

MHI logoAt the end of every year, MHI evaluates its legislative and regulatory accomplishments and identifies unresolved issues for the coming year. In government, large, sweeping, decisive achievements are very rare. Change comes in increments, and in 2010, MHI steadily achieved important victories for the industry and our customers.

√ Full Implementation of FHA Title I Loan Program
In 2010 the implementation of changes to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program for personal property manufactured homes (or Title I), which began back in 2008, was completed. In June 2010 the FHA finalized changes to the program, and also in June 2010 Ginnie Mae lifted its 15-year moratorium and announced it was accepting applications for new Ginnie Mae lenders. In November 2010, Ginnie Mae released its pooling guidelines for loans insured under the new FHA Title I program. The issuance of these guidelines provides Ginnie Mae the ability to securitize manufactured home FHA Title I loans. The securitization of these loans allows lenders to obtain new capital, which can then be used to fund new loans for our customers. Without MHI’s encouragement and assistance, implementation of this important program would most certainly not have happened.

√ Favorably Amending Formaldehyde Legislation
In 2010 Congress enacted a law which requires all composite wood products nationwide to meet new formaldehyde standards. MHI achieved a huge victory for the industry by amending the bill to make the effective date for manufactured and modular homes to comply with the new standard tied to a “manufactured by” provision instead of a “sell through” provision. This is vitally important because the original proposal would have made thousands of new manufactured and modular homes in inventory unsellable once the law became effective. Without MHI’s lobbying, it would have cost the industry and our customers thousands of dollars to bring every home in inventory up to a new standard.

√ Extending the New Home Buyer Tax Credit
MHI joined with other industry groups and successfully extended the new home buyer tax credit for manufactured and modular homes. The extension provided up to an $8000 tax credit to first-time homebuyers who meet certain income tests and sign a sales contact to purchase a principle residence by April 30, 2010. When the extension passed, it required homebuyers to provide a settlement statement as proof of purchase. In manufactured housing “home only” transactions, sales contracts are used as opposed to settlement statements. With the assistance of key Senators, MHI was able to convince the IRS to accept sales contracts in the case of manufactured home purchases.

√ HUD Regulatory Action
The manufactured housing industry is regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As such, HUD has responsibility to issue proposed rules and building standard updates received from the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) in a timely manner. This year HUD released three proposed changes for the public to comment on. These changes include roof truss testing protocol, rules governing the on-site completion of homes, and updates to the HUD-Code. These changes, which have been sitting around for over five years, are now in the process of being finalized thanks to continued pressure from MHI. An updated HUD-Code is vitally important for the industry and our customers.

In addition, MHI was instrumental in protecting the industry in 2010 from remedial action by regulators regarding materials supplied for the installation of air combustion inlets and venting ductwork through crawlspaces. MHI’s continued dialogue with industry regulators to address these types of issues is a huge part of MHI’s mission.

√ Protection from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
A major issue in 2010 was Congress creating a brand new federal agency to regulate the financial services industry and protect consumers. MHI was successful in exempting manufactured and modular housing industry salespersons and retailers from the scope of the new agency if they are: 1) acting as an agent or broker for a buyer or seller of a manufactured home or a modular home, or; 2) facilitating the purchase by a consumer of a manufactured home or modular home, by negotiating the purchase price or terms of the sales contract. MHI’s lobbying obtained this exemption, and we were one of just a few industries that were successful in getting this done.

√ Relief from the SAFE Act
The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) Act passed by Congress in 2008 was intended to set up a nationwide licensing system for mortgage loan originators or individuals involved in the negotiation of a home loan. It was not intended to require the licensure of individuals, like manufactured and modular home salespersons or realtors, who are simply engaged in the business of selling homes. During the implementation of the SAFE Act, however, many state regulators have expanded the scope of the SAFE Act in order to regulate as many as possible, including retailers conducting purely administrative or clerical tasks in relation to a home loan. In 2010 MHI introduced a bill in Congress which clarifies the licensing requirements of the SAFE Act. MHI’s bill prompted Congressional leadership to send a letter to HUD, telling HUD that the SAFE Act was not intended to apply to retail sellers in our industry. MHI believes these actions will positively influence the outcome of pending regulations both at HUD and the state level.

√ Protecting Consumer Choice in Weather Radios
For the past four years, our customer has been threatened by legislation introduced in Congress unfairly targeting our homes. The legislation would have required every manufactured home sold to have a weather radio, ignoring the consumer’s ability to choose. Weather radios are quickly becoming antiquated, and MHI advocated for the enactment of a new system which already addresses the issue of notifying all individuals in an area of impending natural or man-made disasters. Even though the weather radio bill passed the House of Representatives, it has never been considered in the Senate due to lobbying efforts by MHI. MHI does not expect this issue to be raised in Congress again next year, however, if it reemerges, we will be ready.

√ MHI-PAC Support of Pro-Industry Candidates
MHI has a political action committee (PAC) which contributes to campaigns of pro-manufactured housing Members of Congress. In a difficult election year where over 70 existing members of Congress either retired or were voted out of office, 84 percent of the candidates MHI supported were re-elected. This is a stellar record, and MHI looks forward to working with the new members of Congress next year in advancing the MHI agenda.

The past two years have seen an unprecedented amount of new regulations that have had a widespread impact on every industry. This new focus on regulation has been driven by the belief that the events leading up to the economic crisis might have been prevented had there been more laws in place. Considering this environment, MHI has had much success in preventing many more burdens from being placed on our industry and our customers.

However, much more work lies ahead in 2011. Federal regulators continue to ignore laws passed by Congress requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support personal property lending on manufactured homes. This hurts our customers’ ability to buy and sell their home. The financial reform legislation which passed in 2010 is a 2,000 page bill with widespread impact on all lending and finance activities, including manufactured and modular housing. We need to push for changes to the law and careful implementation of the regulations. There are important tax credits which the industry relies on which have yet to be extended, creating uncertainty for businesses and hampering their ability to adequately plan for the future and pass these benefits onto our customers.

As a membership organization, MHI relies on your membership and support. If your company is not a direct dues paying member of MHI, call us today at (703) 558-0668 to learn more about how to join.

And, now that you’ve seen our scorecard, how do you think we are doing? Please email or call me at (703) 558-0678, or tlong@mfghome.org. All comments and suggestions are appreciated.

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Thayer Long is Executive Vice President of MHI, the preeminent national trade association for manufactured and modular housing industries, representing all segments of the industries before Congress and the Federal government. Call (703) 558-0678 or visit www.manufacturedhousing.org

Highlights of 2010 Mid-Term Election

November 3rd, 2010 1 comment

MHI logoA Republican wave on November 2, 2010 surged across much of the nation with a decisive victory. As is evident from last night’s election, this country is changing and that will have a long-term effect on our politics, political parties and policies. Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives by a margin of 239-187. The U.S. Senate split 51 (D) – 46 (R ); 3 seats undecided, and several House and Senate races are still too close to call and a number of races may require election recounts.

MHI-PAC had a successful election cycle with 84% of the pro-business candidates endorsed won their elections. Click here for the Post-Election Update of MHI-PAC’s Win/Loss Record. Thanks to hundreds of our members nationwide, MHI had the ability to support government leaders who will work to further the goals of our industry.

On a positive note, several key manufactured housing proponents retained their seats:

  • Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN-02), a member of the House Financial Services Committee. Through his leadership, HR 5369 the “Manufactured Housing Licensing Clarification Act of 2010” was introduced in Congress. The purpose of the legislation is to clarify and exempt certain activities conducted by manufactured home salespersons and retailers from the requirements of mortgage loan originator licensing.
  • Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA-03), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. On MHI’s behalf, Chairman Frank sent a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan seeking clarification of the SAFE Act and to convey the importance of the manufactured housing industry.
  • Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA-44), 9th term member of Congress and Republican chairman of the House Manufactured Housing Caucus. Congressman Calvert will be instrumental in helping the industry navigate though the implementation process of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

We note with sadness that several key manufactured housing champions lost their re-election bids:

  • Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and a leading advocate in supporting legislation to require the Administrator of FEMA to implement a plan which addresses the abundance of surplus manufactured housing units stored by the Federal Government.
  • Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN-09), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman Hill introduced the Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Act (H.R. 1749). The Legislation authorize the Department of Energy (DOE) to make grants to states to provide owners of manufactured homes constructed prior to 1976 with a one-time only rebate of up to $7,500 to use towards the purchase of a new Energy Star qualified manufactured home.
  • Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC-02), a 7th term member of Congress and Democratic chairman of the House Manufactured Housing Caucus. Congressman Etheridge supported tax extension legislation (H.R. 4213) which was approved by the House of Representative. The bill extends, section 45L, the tax credit providing $1,000 to manufacturers of Energy Star HUD Code homes and $2,000 for modular homes.

In addition, MHI looks forward to working with all new members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who as a matter of strategic principle, MHI has sought to build relationships on both sides of the aisle in order to be well positioned whatever the electoral outcome. We could not have scripted the outcome of this year’s elections, but the wisdom of a bipartisan approach has been vindicated.

In January 2011, the 112th Congress will bring many newcomers to Capitol Hill. If a new Member of Congress represents your state or district, please make it a priority to call, write or visit these new representatives as soon as possible. Every election is a beginning, not an end; every new Member of Congress is an opportunity to win new friends for MHI.

In the coming weeks, House GOP leaders are expected to conduct leadership elections and formalize the chamber’s leadership for the 112th Congress. Following this, House and Senate leaders will begin the task of formalizing committee rosters and hiring committee staff. The new House GOP leadership will have an opportunity to begin putting its new majority to use relatively quickly. The President is slated to provide the State of the Union Address in mid-January followed by the release of the 2012 budget outline in early-February. Both are expected to garner strong resistance from the new House Republican majority and provide an opportunity to highlight key policy divisions between Republicans and Democrats.

MHI is beginning the process of reaching out to new House and Senate members in an effort to build a cohesive coalition in support of the industry’s priorities. The 112th Congress is expected to be heavily partisan and provide little opportunity for substantial policy reform. It is critical the industry begin the process of communicating policy concerns to new and existing Members of Congress now.

If you have any questions contact the MHI Government and Legislative affairs team at RBevington@mfghome.org or 703-558-0675, or jboehlert@mfghome.org 703-558-0660.

MHI PAC and the Upcoming Midterm Elections

October 26th, 2010 2 comments

Industry in Focus Reporter Eric MillerWASHINGTON, DC – Indiana representative Joe Donnelly is the top recipient of contributions from the Manufactured Housing Institute Political Action Committee (MHI PAC). According to OpenSecrets.org, Donnelly received a $6,000 contribution during the 2010 election cycle.

As of October 13, 2010, receipts totaled $101,019.00 with $79,590.00 cash on hand. Total spent amounts to $118,584.00. Sixty-five percent of contributions were made to Democrats and 32 percent went to Republicans, with specific Republicans receiving some of the largest contributions.

Donnelly and several key members of the Manufactured Housing Congressional Caucasus are facing tight races. The biggest recipients in House of Representatives races include Barney Frank (D-MA) with $3,000 and Bill Posey (R-FL) also with $3,000 and Baron Hill (D-IN) $2,000. In the Senate races, top recipients include Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) with $4,000 and Richard Shelby (R-AL) with $3,500.

House
Total to Democrats: $31,750
Total to Republicans: $15,500
Recipient Total
Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) $1,000
Bachus, Spencer (R-AL) $1,000
Boswell, Leonard L (D-IA) $2,000
Boyd, Allen (D-FL) $2,000
Brown-Waite, Ginny (R-FL) $1,000
Calvert, Ken (R-CA) $1,000
Camp, Dave (R-MI) $2,000
Chandler, Ben (D-KY) $1,000
Childers, Travis W (D-MS) $2,000
Clyburn, James E (D-SC) $1,000
Davis, Geoff (R-KY) $2,000
Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $6,000
Driehaus, Steve (D-OH) $2,000
Duncan, John J (Jimmy) Jr (R-TN) $2,000
Etheridge, Bob (D-NC) $1,000
Frank, Barney (D-MA) $3,000
Hill, Baron (D-IN) $2,000
Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) $2,500
Matsui, Doris O (D-CA) $1,000
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC) $1,000
Miller, Brad (D-NC) $1,000
Olver, John W (D-MA) $1,000
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) $250
Posey, Bill (R-FL) $3,000
Scott, David (D-GA) $2,000
Souder, Mark E (R-IN) $1,000
Tanner, John (D-TN) $1,000
Thompson, Bennie G (D-MS) $1,000
Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $250
Tonko, Paul (D-NY) $250
Senate
Total to Democrats: $12,000
Total to Republicans: $6,500
Recipient Total
Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,000
Corker, Bob (R-TN) $1,000
DeMint, James W (R-SC) $1,000
Dodd, Chris (D-CT) $1,000
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) $4,000
Murkowski, Lisa (I-AK) $2,000
Nelson, Bill (D-FL) $2,000
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) $1,000
Reed, Jack (D-RI) $1,000
Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $2,000
Shelby, Richard C (R-AL) $3,500
Wicker, Roger (R-MS) $1,000

Based on data released by the FEC on October 25, 2010.

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center.

In terms of voting records on industry related issues and the S.A.F.E. Act, as well as Title 1 reform and Duty to Serve, were all contained in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). In the Senate, Reid, Shelby and Lincoln all voted for the Act. Then-Senator Obama did not vote. In the House, Donnelly, Hill and Frank all voted for the bill. Posey was serving in the Florida State Senate at the time. Would-be Speaker of the House John Boehner voted against HERA.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has also provided contributions to these candidates. As of October 13, Donnelly received $1,000 from the NAHB PAC. Frank received $5,000 from NAHB, as did Posey. Hill is not listed as having received a contribution from NAHB. In the Senate races, NAHB gave $2,500 to Lincoln and $5,000 to Shelby. In contrast to MHI PAC’s contributions, the NAHB gave 39 percent to Democrats and 60 percent to Republicans. The total spent by the Homebuilders in the 2010 cycle is $3,012,057.

MHI-PAC contributions chart
Chart created by MHMSM.com’s Industry in Focus Reporter Eric Miller from information available on opensecrets.org

Contributions by the National Association of Realtors far exceed that of either the NAHB or MHI. As of October 13, the Realtors gave 58 percent to Democrats and 41 percent to Republicans. Donnelly received $6,000 from the Realtors, Frank received $6,000, Hill received $6,000 and Posey was handed $5,000. In the Senate races, Lincoln received $14,000 and Shelby $3,000. Total expenditures for Realtors in the 2010 cycle are $11,218,449.00.

Democrats currently hold a 256-178 majority in the House of Representatives, with one vacancy. The battle for control of the House focuses primarily on 64 competitive races–58 Democratic-held seats and 6 Republican-held seats including 9 members of the Manufactured Housing Caucus.

According to MHI, two races that are particularly important to the manufactured housing industry are those including Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN) and Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN). Beyond financial contributions, MHI says it will be working with members in these key districts to get-out-the-vote for their candidates.

According to their report to members at their Denver meeting in September, MHI believes as do many political analysts that a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives is possible. If so, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is in line to become Speaker of the House. A GOP majority would mean major changes as a number of senior Democrats chairing committees important to manufactured housing would face demotions to lesser roles including Housing Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), a staunch supporter of manufactured housing.

The current Senate line-up is 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and 2 Independents. The Republicans must win 10 seats to recapture the Senate. The odds favor continued Democratic control, but a significant surge by Republican candidates could lift the Republicans into striking distance of gaining control of the Senate.

More information on the MHI PAC is available at http://www.manufacturedhousing.org ##