Mendenhall Urges Lawmakers to Keep Incentives for Homeowners

April 26, 2017

As the Trump administration unveils its plan to reform the U.S. income tax system, NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall visited key lawmakers on both sides of the aisle yesterday to remind them of the central role the mortgage interest deduction and other tax code provisions have long played in incentivizing Americans to become homeowners. Removing or diluting those incentives, which make it possible for millions of Americans to own a home, would not be good for the nation, she said.

NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall, center, talks tax reform with Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), left. At right is Evan Liddiard, NAR senior policy representative-federal taxation.

Mendenhall’s meetings included sessions with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the panel’s ranking member. The committee has jurisdiction over the tax code, placing it at the center of the tax-reform process. She also met with Sen. Clair McCaskill (D-Mo.).

Mendenhall also spent time with legislators and staff in the House of Representatives, including Congressman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), ranking member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and the chief of staff to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Mendenhall stressed the need to improve the U.S. homeownership rate, which is at a multidecade low, and reiterated NAR's position that two key tax provisions, the mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for state and local taxes, be preserved. She also urged the lawmakers to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides coverage to property owners in 22,000 communities across the United States where flood insurance is required to qualify for a mortgage. The program will expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress acts to extend it.

Mendenhall also informed the lawmakers that about 9,000 REALTORS® would be in Washington in May to attend the 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo and protect rights for homeowners.

—Sam Silverstein, REALTOR® Magazine