- Roundtable Members, Policymakers Discuss Key National Issues
- House Republicans Pass Debt Ceiling Bill
Roundtable Members, Policymakers Discuss Key National Issues
Real Estate Roundtable members and policymakers met this week to discuss pressing issues affecting CRE, including return-to-work trends, the looming refinance wave, the debt ceiling, and affordable housing challenges. The Roundtable 2023 Spring Meeting also focused on tax, climate, and regulatory proposals. (The Roundtable’ Policy Priorities and Executive Summary, April 24)
Speakers & Policy Issues
- Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEO, SUFFOLK), below left, and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, right, led policy issue discussions featuring the following guests:
- Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Secretary Raimondo, center, discussed how the Commerce Department is investing billions in federal funds in infrastructure, manufacturing, and other industries to generate jobs and economic growth. The former governor of Rhode Island also focused on her recent “Million Women in Construction Initiative” during a National Public Radio Marketplace interview later the same day.
- Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
As a member of the Senate Budget and Foreign Relations Committees, Sen. Kaine offered his insights on negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling, global trade, and efforts to revise federal remote work policies aimed at getting government employees back to their offices. (The Roundtable’s workplace return efforts, Commercial Observer, April 14)
- Rep. French Hill (R-AR)
Serving as Vice-Chair of the influential House Financial Services Committee and Chairman of its new Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion, Rep. Hill addressed economic issues and CRE, debt ceiling negotiations, the banking system, and monetary policy. Yesterday, the Financial Services Committee approved two bills sponsored by Rep. Hill to expand capital formation.
- Phillip Swagel, Director, Congressional Budget Office
The government’s fiscal trajectory; the impact of high interest rates on federal revenue and spending; and long-term trends in social security, immigration, and the national debt were among the topics discussed by CBO Director Swagel. (The Fiscal Times, April 25)
- Sharon Wilson Géno, President, National Multifamily Housing Council
A Roundtable member exchange on policy issues included an update on affordable housing challenges facing the industry by NMHC’s President Géno. Capital concerns affecting multifamily and commercial markets were also a topic in a recent Walker Webcast featuring Géno and The Roundtable’s DeBoer, hosted by Roundtable Member Willy Walker (Chairman & CEO, Walker & Dunlop).
- Kevin Warsh, Former Member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors
Mr. Warsh, right, a member of the Fed from 2006-2011, discussed the central bank’s potential actions affecting commercial real estate markets, the wave of CRE debt maturities, and the future of the office sector, with Roundtable Treasurer Thomas Flexner, left, Vice Chairman and Global Head of Real Estate, Citigroup.
Next on The Roundtable's meeting calendar is the all-member Annual Meeting on June 13-14 in Washington, DC.
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House Republicans Pass Debt Ceiling Bill
House Republicans this week narrowly passed legislation—the Limit, Save, Grow Act (H.R. 2811)—that would slash government spending and rescind much of the Biden administration’s climate-related incentives in an effort to spur bipartisan talks on raising the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. (Roll Call, April 26 and Reuters, April 27)
- The White House issued an April 25 Statement of Administration Policy that the GOP bill would be vetoed if it ever made it to President Biden’s desk. Biden added he is willing to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), but that extending the debt limit is “not negotiable.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded to passage of the House bill by stating it “has no hope of ever becoming law.” (Schumer Floor Remarks, April 27)
- The Congressional Budget Office released an analysis this week showing that H.R. 2811 would reduce $4.8 trillion from the deficit by setting caps on federal spending over the next 10 years—with an additional $570 billion in savings coming from rescinding energy tax provisions passed in the Inflation Reduction Act. (Tax Notes, April 27 and Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 12, 2022)
- Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics testified before Congress last month that if no resolution to the debt limit is reached before mid-August, “a default would be a catastrophic blow to the already-fragile economy.” (Zandi’s written testimony, March 7)
- A previous standoff over the debt limit in 2011 led to a downgrade of the government's credit rating, which pushed borrowing costs higher. (ABC News, Jan. 24)
- The Roundtable and 13 other national real estate organizations sent a joint letter last month urging congressional leaders to raise the debt limit to avoid agitating the stability of U.S. financial markets and roiling significant sectors of the American economy unnecessarily. (Coalition letter, March 29)
- Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish, right above, (Chairman and CEO, SUFFOLK) and President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, left, have also called on Roundtable members to contact both policymakers in Congress and the White House to raise the debt ceiling. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 20)
- DeBoer said, “Some threats to the U.S. economy are unavoidable, others are ones of our own making and entirely unnecessary. The potential for a default on the federal debt is a needless and inexcusable risk with potentially dire consequences for U.S. real estate, workers and retirees, and the entire economy. The full faith and credit of the United States government should not be open to negotiation.”
The impact of negotiations over federal spending and raising the debt ceiling on the national economy and CRE markets was a focus of discussion during The Roundtable’s Spring Meeting this week (see story above). It is possible that intense discussions among DC policymakers on these issues will be underway during The Roundtable’s all-member meeting on June 13-14 in Washington, DC.
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