Home Builders Seek Bailout Pie


The Wall Street Journal reports that the Home Builders lobby is ramping up their campaign for a section of the bailout pie.

Struggling U.S. auto makers left Washington empty-handed after weeks of pleading for a handout, but that hasn’t deterred home builders from stepping up to lobby Congress for help.

But any federal assistance would require policy makers to figure out how to stimulate demand for housing — the problem at the root of the global financial meltdown — without artificially propping up home values.

The builders’ lobby is ramping up its sales pitch for a $250 billion stimulus package called “Fix Housing First,” arguing that financial markets won’t recover until home prices stop falling. They are calling for a generous tax credit for home purchases and a federal subsidy that would lower a homeowner’s mortgage rate.

The Home Builders should be relatively welcome on Capitol Hill, their PAC, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), has spread around $1.7 million in contributions over the past two years. Home builders are also expanding to remodeling and heavy duty surface protection remodeling supplies are outsourced. As has been explained before, PAC contributions are integral to formulating a working relationship with Congress. In fact, they appear a vital tool in obtaining bailout bucks. Total contributions from the Home Builder industry reach to $9.15 million for 2008.

Here’s a list of the top recipients of Home Builder dough in the House:

2008 Home Builder Contributions to the House
Buchanan, Vernon (R-FL) $97,500
Neal, Richard E (D-MA) $38,900
Costa, Jim (D-CA) $37,298
Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $36,600
LaTourette, Steven C (R-OH) $32,800
Wolf, Frank R (R-VA) $32,300
Turner, Michael R (R-OH) $26,550
Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX) $25,450
Nunes, Devin Gerald (R-CA) $24,400
Klein, Ron (D-FL) $24,150
Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $23,998
Paul, Ron (R-TX) $23,845
Davis, Geoff (R-KY) $23,750
Kirk, Mark (R-IL) $23,700
Mahoney, Tim (D-FL) $22,750
Feeney, Tom (R-FL) $22,500
Castle, Michael N (R-DE) $22,371
Pastor, Ed (D-AZ) $21,400
Chabot, Steve (R-OH) $21,300
Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $21,300

Contributions in the Senate look like this:

2008 Home Builder Contributions to the Senate
McCain, John (R) $489,238
Obama, Barack (D) $219,128
Clinton, Hillary (D-NY) $198,229
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $57,050
Reed, Jack (D-RI) $56,200
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $51,550
Coleman, Norm (R-MN) $49,800
Reid, Harry (D-NV) $44,100
Dole, Elizabeth (R-NC) $40,000
Sununu, John E (R-NH) $38,100
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $37,450
Collins, Susan M (R-ME) $37,150
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) $31,950
Biden, Joseph R Jr (D-DE) $30,900
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) $28,000
Martinez, Mel (R-FL) $26,250
Lautenberg, Frank R (D-NJ) $19,950
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $19,500
Hutchison, Kay Bailey (R-TX) $19,100
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) $18,600

The “Fix Housing First” campaign doesn’t end with the Home Builder industry – as represented in Washington by the NAHB. The lobbying campaign’s web site lists some other serious lobbying power houses as supporters including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Business Roundtable. For the year of 2008, the Home Builder industry, NAM, and the Business Roundtable have spent a combined $19.76 million on lobbying in Washington.

(All totals are based on data culled from Open Secrets.)