Roundtable Weekly
Lawmakers and Industry Leaders Discuss National Policy Challenges; Roundtable Releases Annual Report
June 14, 2019

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), Senate Banking Committee Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and other prominent lawmakers this week engaged Roundtable members on policies affecting the industry – including infrastructure, tax reform, the financial regulatory environment, and extending the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act – during The Real Estate Roundtable's 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Four Roundtable Chairs in attendance at the 2019 Annual Meeting to recognize the organization's 20th anniversary –  left to right, Randall K. Rowe (1998-2000); Robert S. Taubman (2012-2015); Debra A Cafaro (current); and Nelson C. Rising (2000-2003)
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  • Roundtable Chair Debra A. Cafaro  (Chairman & CEO, Ventas, Inc.) launched the business meeting by recognizing the organization's 20 th anniversary of effective industry advocacy efforts; its recent success in attracting greater diversity to its membership; and its newly-released FY2019 Annual Report, " Building Strong Public Policy, Now and for the Future. "   
  • Cafaro noted, "During these past 20 years, our mission has been to bring the top leaders in the real estate industry together with the industry's 17 leading trade associations to identify significant policy issues affecting our industry, job creation and the overall economy.  We will continue to analyze the issues for their real world impact based on solid research and facts, then advocate a nonpartisan, unified position to national policymakers." 

Featured guests during the June 11-12 business and policy advisory committee meetings included: 

  • Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal discussed his committee agenda for the year, including his efforts with the White House to develop a comprehensive infrastructure improvement program.  He also noted the need to reform or repeal the Foreign Investment Real Property Act (FIRPTA) of 1980.  Chairman Neal added that Ways and Means next week may address the extension of numerous expired or expiring tax provisions.  He also mentioned the committee's agenda may include a tax overhaul technical corrections bill, which could include a correction to address a drafting error affecting qualified improvement property. (Roundtable Weekly, June 7) 

    Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer introduces House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA)

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  • Senate Banking Ranking Member Sherrod Brown acknowledged the urgency to address the reauthorization and extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) before it expires at the end of 2020.  (The Senate Banking Committee will hold a  June 18 hearing on TRIA.)  He also said that housing finance reform, including reform of the Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also must address the urgent need for more affordable and workforce housing throughout the nation. 
  • Richard W. Fisher, former President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, discussed global and national monetary policy issues with former Roundtable Chair Robert Taubman (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Taubman Centers Inc.).  

A panel discussion moderated by Roundtable Treasurer Thomas M. Flexner (Vice Chairman and Global Head of Real Estate, Citigroup) focused on market conditions and the economic outlook with:  

  • Jeff T. Blau, CEO, Related Companies   
  • Adam Gallistel, Managing Director, GIC Real Estate   
  •  Timothy J. Naughton, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, AvalonBay Communities, Inc. 
  • Barry Sholem, Partner, MSD Partners, L.P.  
Policymakers, congressional committee staff and regulatory officials also participated in The Roundtable's policy advisory committee meetings for in-depth discussions about public policy issues in the areas of tax; capital and credit; energy and environment; and homeland security. 

 The Roundtable's newly-released FY2019 Annual Report, " Building Strong Public Policy, Now and for the Future "

  • During a joint meeting of the Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) and Research Committee, Rep. French Hill (R-AR) provided insights on housing finance reform efforts as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.  Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria also shared his views on reform efforts from a regulatory perspective.  ( Politico , June 12, " Housing regulator seeks power from Congress to overhaul mortgage finance ") 

  • An evening dialogue with former White House Chiefs of Staff Denis McDonough (2013-2017, President Barack Obama) and Reince Priebus (January 2017-July 2017, President Donald Trump) included their perspectives on current and future policymaking efforts. 

  • During the meeting, The Roundtable membership also approved three proposed FY2020 Roundtable Board members , effective July 1: 
  • Scott Jones , Vice President of Jacobs Engineering and Chair-Elect of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), International 
  • Amy Rose , President & CEO, Rose Associates
  • Robert Spottswood , President of Spottswood Companies and Chair of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA)  
The Roundtable's FY2019 Annual Report will be sent to the membership in early July.  Next on The Roundtable's calendar is the Fall Meeting on October 30 in Washington, DC (Roundtable-level members only).