House Democratic Leader and Other Policymakers Discuss Economic and CRE Market Issues

The Real Estate Roundtable's Spring Meeting April 15-16, 2024

This week’s Real Estate Roundtable meeting focused on national policies impacting commercial real estate, with an emphasis on the economy, the need for increased federal support for property conversions, and capital and credit issues. Guests such as House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and other prominent policymakers also discussed the housing crisis, return-to-office issues, and the upcoming elections. (The Roundtable’ Spring 2024 Policy Priorities and Executive Summary)

Speakers & Policy Issues

John Fish, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Jeffrey Deboer
  • Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), center, with Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman & CEOSUFFOLK), left, and Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer, right, discussed policymaking in the House, the need to balance geopolitical urgencies with pressing domestic priorities, and finding bipartisan paths to solve the nation’s problems.
  • House Financial Services Committee Member French Hill (R-AR), right, engaged in a discussion moderated by Michelle Herrick (Head of Real Estate Banking, J.P. Morgan), left, that addressed the wave of maturing CRE loans and the future of a regulatory proposal to hike bank capital requirements known as “Basel III.” (Roundtable Weekly, March 8)
Jared Bernstein, Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers
  • White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Jared Bernstein, above, emphasized that affordable housing is a high-priority focus of the Biden administration—and welcomed a series of recommendations by The Roundtable on how the Biden administration could further support commercial-to-residential property conversions. He also discussed inflation’s role in credit and capital markets. (See story below)
Enice Thomas, Deputy Comptroller for Credit Risk Policy, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Enice Thomas (Deputy Comptroller for Credit Risk Policy, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), above, focused on economic risk for regional banks that service specific property types and locations within office and multifamily sectors. Thomas clarified that the OCC encourages bankers to work with borrowers early if any stress indicator arises in their portfolio. He added federal banking regulators are monitoring office markets closely as a wave of loan maturities looms. 
Kevin Palmer (Head of Multifamily, Freddie Mac)—right
  • Kevin Palmer (Head of Multifamily, Freddie Mac)—above right, with Roundtable Board Member Matt Rocco (President, Colliers Mortgage), left—spoke with Roundtable members about Freddie’s role in the industry. He noted that the CMBS market is “humming” and added that planning for a significant refinance opportunity is important, although exceeding Freddie’s caps is an FHFA issue.

Next on The Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member Annual Meeting on June 20-21 in Washington, DC, which will also feature meetings of RER’s Policy Advisory Committees.

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Industry Leaders and Policymakers Address National Issues Affecting CRE, Including TRIA, Affordable Housing, Tax and Monetary Policy

This week’s Real Estate Roundtable Fall 2019 Meeting in Washington featured discussions with congressional lawmakers on national policy issues affecting economic growth, job creation, local communities and the commercial real estate industry.  Roundtable members engaged policymakers and other speakers on a wide range of issues, including terrorism insurance; affordable housing; GSE reform; opportunity zones; FIRPTA repeal; infrastructure; energy and climate; and monetary policy. 

Roundtable Chair Debra A. Cafaro (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.) launched the meeting by noting how the organization remains focused on its national policy agenda.  Cafaro added that The Roundtable continues to move forward from its 20-year foundation with 17 industry association partners and membership-driven policy advisory committees.  She emphasized, “We will continue to do the research necessary to make our case on issues with policymakers, and work across product types and entity classifications to advance strong, sustainable national policy for the industry.”  

Speakers at The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting included: 

  • Dr. Ben Carson—Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—discussed the Administration’s efforts to reshape the role of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) by capitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before ending their government conservatorship.  He also noted a Stanford University study on rent control legislation that found such actions decreased rental costs in the short-term, yet decreased the supply of affordable housing in the long-term.
  • Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)—Member, Senate Committees on Commerce, Science and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and member of the Problem Solvers Caucus while she served in the House of Representatives—noted the importance of public-private partnerships for infrastructure investments, economic growth and community improvements.  She also lauded Opportunity Zones as an incentive to create more affordable housing in her state. 
  • Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)—Member, Senate Committees on Budget; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs—addressed the importance of bipartisanship to achieve legislative goals.  He discussed the efforts of policymakers to reach solutions on immigration issues such as DACA, border security and Visa reform.
  • David Sampson—President and CEO, American Property Casualty Insurance Association—discussed the need to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and current efforts in Congress to enact a “clean” multi-year extension as soon as possible.  He added that cyberterrorism was an increasing risk to business interruption in the marketplace.
  • Dana Peterson—Global Economist, Citgroup—spoke about how consumer spending trends, demographics and market conditions have led to the 11th year of economic expansion in the U.S.  She also forecast continued growth as domestic companies lead the way in technology areas affecting Artificial Intelligence, 5G and blockchain.
  • Charlie Cook—Political Analyst for The National Journal Group; Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report—spoke about the electoral landscape, the increase in “tribal” partisanship and how a sharp increase in voter engagement is expected in the upcoming presidential election. 

Following the business meeting, informal dinners were held with congressional policymakers and Roundtable members to discuss policy issues in more detail. 

Next on the Roundtable’s meeting calendar is the all-member State of the Industry Meeting on January 28, 2020, which will be held in conjunction with its policy advisory committee meetings in Washington, DC.

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