Today at the GAD (Government Affairs Directors) Institute in Charleston SC, we had the opportunity to speak with NAR President Charles McMillan both during a luncheon meeting and later at an intimate reception hosted by President McMillan at Charleston's historic Riviera Ballroom. Personable and unassuming as always, McMillan was quick to praise the efforts of GAD's and the successful lobbying efforts we have conducted at a local, state and national level. The practice of real estate would be a far more difficult challenge for practitioners if not for the lobbying efforts of NAR's Jerry Giovaniello, state lobbyists like California's Alex Creel & Stan Weig, and the determined efforts of local GAD's with the support of our you, our members.
One of McMillan's messages today was to clarify NAR's position on the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade Bill, which was recently passed out of the house and currently awaits debate in the Senate. McMillan said he and NAR staff have come under attack for their 'support' of this onerous bill but that nothing could be further from the truth and he hoped we could speak directly to you, the membership, to help carry this message.
In fact, neither NAR nor McMillan support the passage of this bill BUT he took great pains to illustrate why the bill in it's current form represents a significant victory for Realtors over it's original form. Readers may recall my rant during our DC visits in May about one section of this horrendous and over-reaching piece of crap that would have had extremely deleterious consequences for Realtors and on the housing market in general. This was the so-called 'energy-star' labeling proposal which would have required a Point-of-Sale energy audit of every home and commercial structure sold in the US to assess it's energy efficiency and to mandate unspecified and potentially costly modification be made to bring the structure to some ill-defined standard which would subsequently save the planet.
Cost and efficacy be damned, Homely Henry Waxman is determined that this bill will mark his ascension to the ranks of 'saviour of the world' as he knows it regardless of the impact to any of the elements contained in the bill. In fact when we originally argued against this bill in May prior to it's passage out of committee, the bill was only about 685 pages. Because nobody took the time to read it, the bill expanded to more than 1,000 pages before it passed out of the House. No less a luminary than Time Magazine columnist and Obama sycophant Joe Klein pointed out in a recent article that 'this bill is an excellent candidate for euthanasia. It is a demonstration of all that's wrong with the legislative process in latter day America.'
But McMillan pointed to 8 specific areas that he termed significant victories for the Realtor cause. First among these was the deletion of the section mandating energy audits. Whether this bill passes or not, at a minimum, there will be no mandates for costly and time consuming energy audits, no retrofits, and no point-of-sale requirements for either residential or commercial properties. While the bill will drive up energy costs nationwide with no provable positive impact on the environment or anything else, at least it will not add specifically to the cost of housing at a time when housing can least afford these frivolities.
So if you've heard that NAR has supported this bill, or that Charles McMillan is a fan of Henry Waxman, I have it from the source that this is definitely not the case. NAR & McMillan are pleased that the efforts of Realtors resulted in the removal of sections of the bill most onerous to the housing element, but that doesn't mean they are supportive of the remaining 1,000+ pages. As the housing element has been removed, in keeping with our charter, NAR is monitoring the bill to insure that no language is re-inserted that would impact housing but at this time neither supports nor opposes the bill as it has become technically a non-housing related issue.
Thanks to President McMillan for clarifying this matter and to our 1.2 million members and lobbyists for yet another Realtor win on behalf of our clients, the homeowners of America.