NAHB Chief Lobbyist Jim Tobin provides an analysis of Tuesday’s elections and what’s in store for housing in the new Congress.
Midterm elections are always a referendum on the occupant of the White House, and the 2022 midterms were no exception. With both parties well-funded by record-breaking campaign spending and both chambers of Congress closely divided, it did not take a “wave” election for either party to claim the majority; it was merely a question “by how many seats.”
The high number of early voting ballots and the counting rules in many states make election night more of an election season. We do not know the outcome of many of the House and Senate races, but we do know that the Republicans had the (slightly) better election night and were on track to reclaim a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. The Senate results are still too close to call in many of the tightly contested races, and we are preparing for (another) runoff in Georgia for the Senate seat.
What does this all mean for home building and housing?
Regardless of the final House and Senate tallies, any legislation with a prayer of being signed into law by Biden must be bipartisan. While the next speaker of the House can likely wrangle the 218 votes needed to move legislation, the next Senate majority leader will not have the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Even if the stars align and deliver Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, and GOP lawmakers were able to send partisan legislation to the president’s desk, they do not have the two-thirds majority vote in either chamber to override a veto.
Housing has always been a bipartisan issue. High home prices have pushed ownership out of reach for most Americans and sky-high rents are punishing renters. The housing affordability crisis in America has become a top-tier political issue. As the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy and the housing sector faces a recession, Congress and the administration must turn their focus to policy solutions that lower the cost of building and allow the nation’s home builders to expand housing production.
NAHB is poised to work with the new Congress to propose bipartisan solutions to create more affordable and attainable housing.
View the complete election analysis.