National Association of Home Builders officials on Tuesday announced plans to freeze all contributions from the group’s political action committee to federal congressional candidates for a perceived failure to address “underlying economic issues” to stabilize the housing market.
The announcement came less than an hour after a separate NAHB announcement that praised the Bush administration for an agreement by six major lenders, called Project Lifeline, to stall foreclosure proceedings for some borrowers and pursue workout plans.
“This extraordinary action was taken,” NAHB President Brian Catalde said in a statement, “because the NAHB BUILD-PAC Board of Trustees felt that over the past six months Congress and the administration have not adequately addressed the underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing sector and keep the economy moving forward.”
According to OpenSecrets.org, a Web site operated by The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan and nonprofit research group, NAHB’s PAC had total receipts of $2.04 million so far in the 2008 election cycle as of Feb. 8, according to U.S. Federal Election Commission data.
The Web site also reported total expenditures of $1.5 million and ending cash on hand totaling $1.37 million as of Feb. 8.
NAHB’s PAC has already issued $865,800 to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle as of Feb. 8, with 45 percent of the money going to Democrats and 55 percent to Republicans.
And according to FEC data reported at the OpenSecrets site, the PAC has already given $364,000 to Democratic House candidates, $391,500 to Republican House candidates, $28,300 to Democratic Senate candidates and $82,000 to Republican Senate candidates as of Jan. 7, 2008.
The PAC ranks 17th on a list of top 20 PAC contributors to federal candidates in the 2008 election cycle, behind the Air Line Pilots Association PAC. The National Association of Realtors PAC ranks seventh on the list, with $1.12 million in contributions to federal candidates in the current election cycle, as of Jan. 7.
Catalde also said in his statement that housing and related industries account for about 16 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, and “more needs to be done to jump-start housing and ensure the economy does not fall into a recession. This action will remain in effect until further notice.”
The group’s statement did not provide any details about what specific actions it sought from Congress.
Donna Reichle, an NAHB spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message on Tuesday that NAHB had no further statement about its decision.
But in the NAHB’s earlier announcement supporting Project Lifeline, the group “called on Congress to modernize the Federal Housing Administration and reform the … government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”