What’s Next in DC? NAR Advocacy Team Is On It

March 19, 2020

National Association of REALTORS® leaders are engaging closely with Senate Republicans and Democrats as Congress moves forward on what’s expected to be a $1 trillion–plus aid package for Americans and industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the bill has been passed, some allocation details are still being negotiated.

The association sent an all-member email yesterday, letting its 1.4 million members know that self-employed workers and small businesses were part of the relief bill passed Wednesday and signed by President Donald Trump hours later. The bill provides for paid sick leave, unemployment help, and free COVID-19 testing.

“Last week, we urged congressional leaders to include robust protections for small- business owners and the self-employed in this bill. This bill does both, and with the structure of the tax credits, financial relief will come quickly,” said NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Shannon McGahn in the email to members.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are negotiating today on the aid package, the third phase of the federal government’s response to the pandemic, which has left businesses shuttered and Americans sheltering in place. While real estate transactions continue, a new flash survey released by NAR today shows that nearly half of REALTORS® say buyer interest is down because of COVID-19.

“We don’t know how long this [aid] process is going to take, but we’ll continue to work for measures that will help our members survive through this crisis,” says McGahn. NAR’s advocacy team is working on a range of issues, from pushing for extensions on 1031 transactions to lobbying for a federal law that would allow remote notarizations nationwide.

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg announced in a staff meeting today a detailed communications plan to ensure key constituents, including state and local association presidents and association executives, are kept up-to-date on NAR’s COVID-19–related activities. He also announced that the Leadership Team had decided to suspend business travel until July 1; previously, the suspension was expected to end April 11. Yesterday, NAR released news that its Spring Legislative Meetings, which typically include state delegation visits to Capitol Hill, would be held virtually rather than in person.