Photo courtesy of NAHB
Photo courtesy of NAHB

NAHB looks forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump on a quartet of key issues--reforming the tax and regulatory regimes, overhauling immigration rules, and boosting the ranks of skilled labor--the association's CEO says.

During a 30-minute phone conversation with REMODELING on Nov. 10, just 48 hours after Trump's victory, Jerry Howard said Trump's career as a builder and developer gives the association reason for cautious optimism about what he'll do over the next four years. Here's a summary of the key housing issues Howard sketched out for the new administration to tackle:

"I think what you’re talking about is a man who has [made] the hallmark of his campaign [to] reduce the regulatory burdens on businesses," Howard told REMODELING. These include what Howard called "overzealous environmental" and labor regulations. Other regulations include the Labor Department's overtime rule, OSHA's confined spaces rule, and the Environmental Protection Agency's lead-paint rule.

"I think that [overtime rule] is something that is right in his wheelhouse and something we would encourage him to take a look at," Howard told REMODELING. Trump also made a campaign promise that he would put a freeze on any new regulation proposals.

Tax and Housing Policy Reform
NAHB supports the new administration when it comes to aggressive tax reform, a hallmark of Trump's campaign. "On GSE reform and housing reform, President-elect Trump will be very progressive in trying to get those entities out of conservatorship and come to a final resolution," Howard said. Some of the regs related to government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as in housing and financial policy have impeded the flow of capital, he said. Howard believes housing interests "can look to [reforms] being done relatively soon as well, and I think that’s important to our industry."

Howard says NAHB will pay particular attention to what happens in the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), as that's likely to be where major tax reform legislation will be written.

Trump's major campaign promise was to overhaul immigration with a wall on the Mexican-American border. While Howard said it was not up to him to determine the best way to fix the broken immigration system, he hops that the new administration and the new Congress will be able to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"Immigrants have built this country from the first house built when the settlers came, "Howard said. "So we are very engaged with that. I am hopeful; it’s long overdue that we do an overhaul on immigration reform. Obviously, we need to protect the borders, and whether that protection is a wall or not is not for me to determine. ... I think if President-elect Trump puts such emphasis on the immigration issue that they have to do something, and it’s our hope that they have to be comprehensive and our hope for a consistent legal flow. And our hope [is] that while employers should be liable for the legal status of their employees, contractors should not be liable for subcontractors' employees' legal status."

Skilled Labor
The NAHB is optimistic about the new chief's past experience in residential and commercial construction. "President-elect Trump does in fact understand the importance of skilled labor in the construction sector, whether in the residential or commercial sector," Howard said. "We have had a great deal of success including in Indiana with then-Governor, now Vice President-elect [Mike] Pence in bringing some of our training programs into their states with the support of state government." This includes incorporating vocational training in schools.

To read what remodelers across the country are feeling after the election, click here.

Remodeling editor Craig Webb contributed to this piece.