NAHB spent US$560,000 on lobbying during Q2, down 7% year-over-year, focused on housing, banking, residential construction lending, other issues

WASHINGTON , September 27, 2011 (press release) – The homebuilding industry's main trade association spent $560,000 in the second quarter lobbying the federal government on housing, banking, residential construction lending and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

That's about 7 percent less than the $600,000 that the National Association of Home Builders spent on lobbying in the same quarter a year ago. It spent $540,000 on lobbying in the first quarter of this year.

Builders on the trade association's roster account for about 80 percent of the new homes built in the U.S. each year.

Among the issues that the group lobbied on: taxes, labor, air and water quality, energy efficiency, the federal budget, lead renovation repair and painting, flood insurance, small business, torts, transportation, regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, immigration, the environment and consumer issues, according to the report filed July 20.

A key agenda for the trade group this year has been to push back against proposals to end or limit tax breaks for mortgage interest.

Congress is looking for ways to pare down federal budget deficits and one strategy proposed by a bipartisan commission this summer calls for the reduction of the tax breaks for mortgage interest.

The NAHB has argued that such a move would harm the economy and hurt jobs.

Sales of new homes fell to a six-month low in August -- the fourth-straight monthly decline.

High unemployment, larger required down payments and tougher lending standards are preventing many people from buying homes. Plunging stocks and a growing fear that the U.S. could tip back into another recession are also keeping people from entering the housing market.

The figures underscore how badly the housing market is faring and suggest that a recovery is years away.

The NAHB now projects sales of new homes will be down this year versus 2010, when sales sank to the lowest level on records going back nearly 50 years.

Besides Congress, the trade group lobbied the White House, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Small Business Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Treasury, Labor and Energy.

Alex Strong, who worked for former Rep. Bob Riley, R-Ala., and Courtney Flezzani, who worked for Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., were among those lobbying on behalf of the group during the quarter.

© 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.