President Joe Biden wasted no time in asserting his regulatory agenda. With a series of executive orders and other actions, he signaled that his administration sees the purpose of federal regulations very differently than his predecessor.
In the first days of his presidency, for example, Biden signed two executive orders on climate change and froze further action on pending regulations from the Trump administration. Another executive order recalibrates the way the Office of Management and Budget reviews pending regulations, putting a greater emphasis on public health and safety, social welfare, and environmental stewardship. While the National Association of Home Builders lauds the intent of the Biden administration’s new paradigm, we are concerned that an emphasis on broad regulation will lead to complex new rules that drive up the cost of remodeling projects, large and small. At a time when renovation and retrofitting are needed to make older homes more resilient and energy efficient, costly new regulations could discourage such investment.
NAHB is ready to work with and educate the new administration
The good news is that the Biden administration and the new leadership in Congress has signaled a desire to work with NAHB and other housing industry stakeholders to improve housing affordability for low- and moderate-income families. At the same time, NAHB is ready to work with the new administration to make sure federal regulators understand how new rules, if not properly structured, will make it harder for the remodeling industry to help the government meet its goals.
For example, NAHB is watching the new administration’s actions on climate change. The president has signaled his intent to take actions to increase the energy efficiency and resiliency of existing homes and buildings in an effort to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. NAHB is on the record saying the existing built environment needs to be updated. While lawmakers seem to want to wring as much energy efficiency as possible out of newly built homes, the reality is that there are tens of millions of existing homes that are grossly less energy efficient and resilient than homes being built today.
An opportunity to retrofit 2 million homes
How the Biden administration will take on the challenge of updating the built environment remains to be seen, but during the campaign he expressed a desire to retrofit two million homes. Such a plan could create a significant opportunity for the remodeling industry. Climate change is just one of many issue areas that will demand NAHB’s attention. Staff experts and member volunteers will also be working on issues such as tax policy, immigration reform and workforce development, occupational health and safety, infrastructure, building materials supply and costs, housing finance, building codes, and many others.
The Biden administration’s regulatory posture will be entirely different from that of its predecessor. The new paradigm won’t be easy, but it will bring new opportunities. NAHB is ready for the challenge.