From the desk of Zack Rubin-McCarry, NAR Political Representative:
HUD Secretary Fudge to Join NAR, The Memorial Foundation for Fair Housing Conversation
WASHINGTON (April 14, 2021) – The Memorial Foundation and the National Association of Realtors® will host a conversation on fair housing April 15, at 2 PM on NAR's Facebook page(link is external). HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, Memorial Foundation President Harry E. Johnson, NAR President Charlie Oppler, JPMorgan Chase & Co Foundation President Janis Bowdler and Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell will join moderator and acclaimed journalist Soledad O'Brien for Thursday's event.
The conversation, "The Past, President and Future of Fair Housing," focuses on the history and intersection of civil rights, real estate business and public policy that has led to the current state of housing infrastructure in the U.S.
"The right to live with dignity and without discrimination in access to housing was one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s central beliefs in his dream where all Americans could truly be free," said Johnson. "We're pleased to join with partners in this critical conversation that furthers Dr. King's vision of democracy, justice, hope and love."
This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark bill signed into law on April 11, 1968, that prohibits housing discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. April is recognized across the nation as Fair Housing Month.
Located in Washington, D.C., The Memorial Foundation, Inc. exists to promote awareness of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and its tenets of democracy, justice, hope and love. The 501C3 nonprofit organization also supports the general upkeep of the Memorial, which as the 5th most-visited memorial on the National Mall sees more than 3 million visitors per year.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Recording of NAR Policy Forum: Tipping the Scale – Will Alternative Data in Credit Scoring Promote or impede fair lending goals - Now Available:
Biden Administration FY 2022 Summary Budget
On April 9, 2022, the Biden Administration released its summary request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 discretionary funding. The full budget will not be available in time for the start of Congress’s annual appropriations and budget process. However, given the importance of the appropriations process proceeding on schedule, this report includes the topline request. Read the rundown here: https://www.nar.realtor/washington-report/biden-administration-fy-2022-summary-budget.
Changes to Premium Subsidies in the Affordable Care Act Markets:
The American Rescue Plan included two health insurance-related changes regarding access to premium subsidies in the Affordable Care Act markets that may help members better afford health insurance coverage.
For the rest of 2021 and for all of 2022, households are newly eligible for a premium subsidy for an Affordable Care Act individual health insurance plan if the employer does not offer an affordable/minimum value plan and your household income up to 400% above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This cutoff generally translates to $51,000 for an individual and $106,000 for a family of four. Prior to this change in the law, only individuals and families with incomes BELOW 400% of FPL were eligible for a premium subsidy.
Also, for the rest of 2021 and for all of 2022, subsidized policyholders would be eligible for a larger premium subsidy. For example, for low-income individuals and families (with income between 133% and 150% of FPL), the government will pay 100% of the premiums for their ACA insurance plan. Individuals and families with income at or above 400% of FPL will only be required to dedicate 8.5% of their income toward the cost of an Exchange plan (down from about 10% under current law).
Check out NAR’s summary of these changes and more, which is for general purposes only. If you believe you are eligible for this new assistance, please contact an insurance professional to discuss options.
NAR Opposes DOL Independent Contractor Action
NAR submitted a comment(link is external) opposing the Department of Labor’s proposed withdraw(link is external) of the final rule on independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This regulation, introduced by the previous Administration, never took effect and had no direct impact on real estate professionals’ classification under the Internal Revenue Code for federal tax purposes. However, the final rule provided helpful clarity and certainty for how an employer may classify a worker. It is anticipated DOL will rescind the rule based on this proposal, but has not yet released any replacement suggestions.
Many individuals are attracted to the real estate sales industry because of the ability to classify as an independent contractor, where one enjoys maximized workplace flexibility and autonomy within a dynamic and flourishing field. In light of the ongoing challenges posed to businesses across the country because of the pandemic, NAR encouraged the Department not to withdraw the final rule and also not erode any of the existing classification clarifications already in place at the federal and state levels for real estate professionals in any replacement proposals.
NAR will continue to resist any efforts by federal regulators or legislators that threatens real estate professionals’ ability to classify as an independent contractor, including by incorporating the ABC test. Preserving existing worker classification authority at the federal and state levels to allow real estate professionals to continue to provide excellent service to consumers is key to supporting the American Dream of homeownership and maintaining stability in the housing market.
Check out NAR’s advocacy efforts to protect independent contractors.
NAR Comments on Extension of QM Implementation
NAR submitted a comment(link is external) to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in response to its request for information on whether the phase-in of the QM rule that it finalized in December should be extended beyond the current July compliance date to October of 2021. Furthermore, the CFPB suggested that it might take the delay to review the new QM rule that is based on mortgage pricing.
NAR's comment reiterated previous requests that the CFPB should:
- Allow for a longer phase-in of at least one year,
- Address a number of problems with the rule being phased, and
- Seek to replace or augment the new pricing rule with a standard set by the industry and which sets benchmarks or minimums for pricing.
Download NAR's Comment Letter to the CFPB