Policymakers and Roundtable Members Discuss Domestic and Global Issues Impacting CRE

This week’s Real Estate Roundtable Fall Meeting focused on financing and liquidity issues; housing shortages and the damaging impact that widespread remote work has on cities, small businesses and real estate markets. Additionally, mitigating policy initiatives were discussed, including: additional regulatory action on maturing loans; legislation to facilitate greater building conversions to housing; and technical tax proposal to address cancelled debt, extend opportunity zones and other matters. Regulations implementing last year’s “climate” related laws were also a topic. Photo: Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEO, Suffolk)

Overcoming the ongoing impasse regarding the election of a new Speaker of the House of Representatives was frequently cited as crucial to advancing any legislation, including funding the government and providing assistance to Israel and Ukraine. (The Roundtable’s Oct. 13 Statement on the recent violence in Israel and its Fall 2023 Policy Priorities and Executive Summary, Oct. 16)

Speakers & Policy Issues

  • Roundtable members engaged in policy issue discussions with the following guests:
  • Tom Barkin, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
    Richmond Fed President Barkin (above, with Roundtable Board Secretary Jodi McLean, Chief Executive Officer, EDENS) acknowledged how rising interest rates have hit CRE hard as the Fed aggressively moves to fight inflation. He also suggested recent data shows consumer demand is weakening, which may help to fight inflation. (Reuters | MarketWatch | Wall Street Journal, Oct. 17)
  • Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

As a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Sen. Rounds (right, with Roundtable Board Member Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman, The Perot Companies and Hillwood) offered his insights into how capital and credit market volatility affects housing policy. He also discussed property insurance costs, supply side issues, and the rising national debt.

  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND)

Sen. Kramer also discussed capital liquidity issues and his serious concerns about foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan amid turmoil in House leadership.

  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY)

Rep. Torres (D-NY), gesturing above, discussed the violent, murderous attack on Israel and its citizens. He also engaged in a panel discussion on affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and real estate markets with Roundtable Board Members Owen Thomas, left, (Chairman and CEO, BXP); Mark Parrell, 2nd from left, (President and Chief Executive Officer, Equity Residential); and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, right. (See The Roundtable’s Oct. 13 Statement on the recent attack)

  • John Podesta, White House Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation

[Photo: John Podesta, left, with Roundtable Board Member Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust and Chair of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Advisory Committee)]. Mr. Podesta spoke with Roundtable members about the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansive clean energy and climate provisions.

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY)

Gov. Hochul addressed real estate as a crucial economic force in New York State, noting the negative impact of remote work in New York City. She also discussed efforts to combat NIMBYism and the role of tax incentives and office conversions to jump-start affordable housing development.

Next on The Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member Annual Meeting, whick will include policy advisory committee meetings, on January 23-24, 2024 in Washington, DC. 

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Congressional and CRE Leaders Discuss Economic, Political Currents Leading to November’s Midterms

Fall Roundtable Meeting - wide shot

Industry leaders and national policymakers met this week for The Roundtable’s fall meeting to discuss the U.S. political and economic environment, including issues such as inflation, housing, labor shortages, climate change, and November’s midterm elections. (Roundtable Executive Policy Summary and Policy Issue Profiles)

National Policy Issues & CRE

Speakers at The Roundtable’s Sept. 20-21 meeting included:

Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (SUFFOLK)

  • Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEO, SUFFOLK), above, and President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer opened the meeting with an overview of The Roundtable’s efforts to shape the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that passed last month, and how the new law’s tax and sustainability provisions impact CRE. (Watch John Fish’s opening remarks | Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 12)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also discussed the IRA and a string of other recent legislation—including bipartisan success on infrastructure spending, investments in U.S. manufacturing, and overhaul of the EB-5 investment program. He also raised the importance of immigration reform and Congress’s current focus to pass a funding resolution by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Roundtable Board Member Ross Perot, Jr. (Chairman, Hillwood)

  • Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), left, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Roundtable Board Member Ross Perot, Jr., right, (Chairman, Hillwood), discussed affordable housing supply problems, steps to counter local NIMBY opposition, and the need to develop a prudent economic policy response to prepare for future pandemic risks.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Roundtable Willy Walker (Chairman & CEO, Walker & Dunlop),  and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

  • Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), right, and Mark Warner (D-VA), left, joined Willy Walker, center, (Chairman & CEO, Walker & Dunlop), to discuss supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and the importance of GSE reform.

Clean Energy

RER's Duane Desiderio, Tony Malkin and Ryan McCormick

Economic Conditions & Political Landscape

Debra Cafero and Dr. Austan Goolsbee

  • Dr. Austan Goolsbee, right, (former Chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisors) and The Roundtable’s Immediate Past Chair Debra Cafaro (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.) focused on inflationary pressures, labor shortages, return-to-office issues, and a new era of deglobalization.

Barry Jackson and Jim Messina

  • A “fireside chat” with Jim Messina, right, (former President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff) and Barry Jackson, left, (former House Speaker John Boehner’s Chief of Staff) offered an overview of the current state of U.S. politics and a preview of the upcoming midterm elections.

Next on The Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member State of the Industry Meeting on Jan. 24-25, 2023 in Washington, where The Roundtable will unveil its 2023 Policy Agenda.

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Industry Leaders Engage Lawmakers on National Policy Issues Impacting CRE

Fall Roundtable Meeting visual

Real Estate Roundtable members on Oct. 5 engaged national lawmakers on compelling policy issues impacting commercial real estate, economic growth and job creation – including tax revenue proposals in the infrastructure reconciliation bill, the debt ceiling, housing, climate change and cybersecurity legislation – during The Roundtable’s 2021 Fall Meeting.

Urgent Policy Issues

Jeff DeBoer and John Fish Fall RT Mtg visual

  • Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk), right, and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, left, launched the meeting and led discussions with members of Congress, including:
    • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)

      This discussion focused on colliding policy issues that have been front-and-center this week in Washington, including the debt ceiling and infrastructure. Sen. Romney was part of a small group of leading policymakers who negotiated the bipartisan “physical” infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 13)

    • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

      Sen. Warner noted his priorities in the areas of child care and workforce development. He also addressed the need for more affordable housing investment and cybersecurity reporting, described climate change as an “existential threat,” and discussed tax measures such as raising the top marginal rate on many pass-through owners.  

    • Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
      A discussion with Roundtable Chair Emeritus Randy Rowe (Chairman Green Courte Partners LLC) focused on Rep. Gottheimer’s crucial leadership role with congressional moderates as the Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, who are key to passage of the bipartisan “physical” infrastructure framework and the evolving “human” infrastructure bill. 

    • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
      Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Brady discussed the menu of revenue options that Democrats are considering to pay for the “social infrastructure” reconciliation package. (Accounting Today and MSNBC, Oct. 6)

    • Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL)
      Rep. LaHood, a member of the Ways & Means Committee, provided his views on the numerous converging policy deadlines affecting the decision-making process on Capitol Hill through a video interview with DeBoer released ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.   

Interactive Town Hall

Fall 2021 Roundtable TownHall discussion

  • Roundtable members also participated in an open-mic Town Hall session featuring four members of Congress who play leading roles on national tax, energy and housing issues. The dialogue covered a wide range of topics, including transit investment, EB-5, carried interest and capital gains, climate-related measures and energy-efficiency provisions related to greenhouse emissions.
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) participated in the Town Hall.
  • Videos of the discussions with policymakers are available to Roundtable members upon request

Policy Advisory Committees 

Policy Tool Kit Oct 2021

  • Chairs of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC), Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) and Real Estate Capital Advisory Committee (RECPAC) provided updates of the organization’s policy priorities. (See The Roundtable’s Policy Issues Toolkit and Executive Summary
  • Members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Committee reported on Roundtable-supported research currently underway, exploring the creation of a potential online marketplace that would connect real estate companies with minority-and women business enterprises that might serve as contractors, suppliers, and venture partners in CRE’s “supply chain.” (ED&I Mission Statement

The policy committees will gather next during the all-member Roundtable State of the Industry meeting, scheduled for January 25-26, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Roundtable Meeting Calendar

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Roundtable Board Selects Suffolk’s John Fish as Chair-Elect, Establishes Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee; Industry Leaders Discuss Investment Trends, Engage Lawmakers on National Policy Issues

Fall Roundtable Meeting 2020

The Real Estate Roundtable’s Fall Meeting on Sept. 22 featured top-of-mind issues, including the latest economic and political forecasts; real estate’s diversity and inclusion efforts; prospects for pandemic risk insurance; and future economic stimulus initiatives, particularly those related to housing, rent and infrastructure.

Advocacy:  Roundtable Chair Debra Cafaro (Chairman and CEO, Ventas, Inc.) welcomed Roundtable members to the virtual meeting by summarizing The Roundtable’s effective, yet remote, advocacy work with industry stakeholders and Washington policymakers on the multi-faceted policy responses to the coronavirus – as well as on issues in the tax, capital and credit, sustainability and homeland security areas. (See for example, The Roundtable’s written statement for the committee and testimony before the Senate Banking Committee regarding the Federal Reserve’ Main Street Loan Facility. (Video of Sept. 9 testimony and Q&A )

Deb Cafaro and John Fish remote RER meeting

Leadership: Cafaro, above left, also announced that The Roundtable’s 24-member Board of Directors has selected John F. Fish, above right, (CEO & Chairman, Suffolk) as the organization’s Chair-Elect; appointed Jodie W. McLean (CEO, Edens) as its Secretary; and named Jeff T. Blau (CEO, Related Companies) as the inaugural Chair of the organization’s newly-established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) committee. 


  • Video on FY 2021 nominations for The Roundtable Board and comments by John Fish 
  • Video on The Roundtable’s ED&I committee and comments by Jeff Blau  


Investment Trends:
 Roundtable Chair Debra Cafaro led a discussion regarding “Emerging Global Real Estate Investment Trends” with Christoph Donner (Chief Executive Officer, Allianz Real Estate of America); Adam Gallistel (Managing Director, GIC Real Estate); Steven Hason (Managing Director, Head of Americas Real Assets, APG Asset Management US Inc.) and Roundtable Board Member Kathleen McCarthy (Global Co-Head of Blackstone Real Estate, Blackstone) – video of panel discussion.

Special Guests: The Roundtable’s Fall Business Meeting included virtual visits from the following guests: 

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – video
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) – video
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) – video

See below for more details about this discussion regarding pandemic risk insurance. 

Next on The Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member January 26-27 State of the Industry Meeting.

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