BPC Blog

Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Biggest X-Factor in the Housing Market? Where Baby Boomers Will Choose to Retire

By Nate Berg

The Atlantic

"America's aging population is already placing different demands on the housing market and affecting what developers will likely be focused on providing, according to Terry Holzheimer, director of economic development in Arlington County, Virginia. He's expecting to see more infill housing, more housing in areas that are walkable, and more pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods with high levels of services and amenities." Read more here.

Analysis of the Nominations Process for Financial Regulators

By BPC Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative

“Four key findings emerged from analysis of the data: 1) It takes much longer for the president to nominate, and for the Senate to resolve, heads of single-director agencies than the time involved for commission members and for chairs of commissions. 2) Commission chairs take much less time to nominate than do commission members who are not chairs. The Senate takes a similar amount of time to consider both. 3) The nomination process has slowed down in the Obama administration compared with the George W. Bush administration. This delay is evident in the increase in both the time it has taken for the Obama administration to nominate individuals and in the time it has taken the Senate to act on nominations. 4) Presidents take longer to nominate individuals to commissions and single-head agencies than the Senate takes to resolve those nominations. Interestingly, this is not the case for commission chairs. There is much greater variation in the amount of time it takes the president to decide on nominations than for the Senate to resolve them.” See the full report here.

While the track record has not been perfect, housing policy has traditionally been a bipartisan enterprise

It has been nearly two months since the public release of the BPC Housing Commission report, and the overwhelmingly positive response we have received has been very gratifying. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to review the report and provide feedback on what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we may have missed. The commission’s work continues – we are fine-tuning our recommendations, drilling down deeper into some of the issues raised in our report, and examining new approaches to meeting America’s urgent housing needs.

Senators vow to pass energy efficiency provisions that would benefit the economy and environment

By Colleen Kelly

Yesterday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) re-released The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, a bipartisan bill that works to improve energy efficiency in buildings, the manufacturing sector, and the federal government. The senators were joined on Capitol Hill by industry leaders, environmental advocates, labor proponents, energy efficiency supporters, and trade associations, showcasing the broad base of support for the legislation. BPC also strongly supports this bipartisan legislation, as outlined in a recent letter from the co-chairs of the BPC’s Strategic Energy Policy Initiative. The initiative released a broad set of policy recommendations in February, several of which overlap thematically with the Shaheen-Portman legislation.

Barring further congressional action, sequester cuts will continue to impact the economy this year

Asim Manizada contributed to this post.

Last month, with federal government funding set to expire, both the Senate and the House passed (H.R. 933) to provide discretionary funds for the rest of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. In the aftermath of the sequester cuts that went into effect on March 1, this legislation alters the precise impacts of those reductions by protecting or softening the blow to spending on certain priorities. The changes in H.R. 933, however, will do relatively little to mitigate the sequester’s overall impact or indiscriminate nature.

The key recommendations in BPC’s cost-containment plan would realign the system's flawed incentives

Asim Manizada contributed to this post.

Yesterday, Dr. Alice Rivlin and former Senators Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, and Pete Domenici held an event to release A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment, the final report of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health Care Cost Containment Initiative (HCCI). Its proposals would reform the U.S. health care system to both increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Energy innovation is critical to the nation’s future and global economic competitiveness

Turn to page 8 of the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request (released earlier this week), and you will see a section dedicated to of one of his priorities: “Investing in American Innovation.” The president’s proposed budget aims to increase federal research and development (R&D) by 9 percent above 2012 levels. Energy, in particular, is given significant attention.

BPC's Housing Commission has proposed a performance-based system for delivering rental assistance

As a former HUD Secretary, I thought I would share some quick reflections on the 2014 budget proposed by President Obama as it relates to housing.

First, some context: According to HUD’s most recent findings, nearly 8.5 million unassisted lower-income households have “worst case” housing needs, meaning these households pay more than half of their income on rent or live in severely inadequate housing, or both. “Worst case” needs have grown 19 percent since 2009 and a staggering 43 percent since 2007. For those at the bottom of the income ladder, a major factor contributing to high housing costs is the great shortage of available and affordable rental units.

Properly structured mortgages can responsibly open the door to homeownership for families with modest wealth and incomes

It is no secret that obtaining affordable mortgage credit for both home purchases and refinancing has become increasingly difficult for many low- and moderate-income families. High FICO scores, higher down payments, and more restrictive debt-to-income requirements are now the norm, even in today’s government-dominated market.

Congress must confront fiscal questions when appropriations bills expire September 30 of this year

“The President proposes and the Congress disposes” has been a truism for more than 200 years.

Nothing is likely to happen this year to disprove that aphorism.

President Obama has submitted his budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The House and Senate have passed their versions of FY14 budgets. Behind all the assumptions, explanations, and differing baselines stands the stark fact that all three of these budget proposals seem to exist in parallel universes, destined to never intersect.

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