In Spite of Divided Congress …
WDMA Finalizes 2012 National Policy
by Ben Gann
Facing a divided Congress, and with a presidential election
in the fall, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) has
finalized its national policy agenda for 2012. After failing to agree
on deficit reduction or extending dozens of popular tax incentives in
2011, it remains uncertain what the top priorities of Congress will be
Election year politics should have a major impact on Congress as attention
has focused largely on the disagreements between Democrats and Republicans
following the failure of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction—or the
supercommittee as it is better known—to reach an agreement on deficit
For its part, WDMA remains committed to working with Congress and the
Administration to advance policies that will further stabilize the housing
sector, and protect and enhance the global competitiveness of our manufacturing
Restoring Tax Incentives
The residential energy efficiency (25C) tax credit was one of more than
60 tax incentives that expired at the end of 2011. WDMA currently is having
discussions in both the House and Senate to increase and extend the credit—including
retroactively for 2012. The 25C tax credit creates and preserves American
jobs and promotes energy efficiency by helping owners of existing homes
afford higher efficiency doors and windows.
Congressional efforts addressing the tax code should also protect the
mortgage interest deduction. Attempts to change the mortgage interest
deduction would raise taxes on millions of homebuyers and homeowners thereby
further depressing home values. Of the nearly 37 million homeowners who
benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, 70 percent goes to middle-class
homeowners, and now is not the time to harm the fragile recovery in housing.
However, broader tax reform is emerging as an important part of lowering
the federal budget deficit. Many of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003
are set to expire at the end of 2012. If Congress does nothing this year
to reform the tax code, personal income and capital gains tax rates—among
other tax provisions—will rise to 2001 levels. Despite the need to address
a number of expiring tax provisions before the end of the year, there
is no consensus yet in Congress on how to reform the tax code.
"If Congress does
nothing this year to reform the tax
code, personal income and capital gains tax rates—among other tax provisions—will
rise to 2001 levels."
Restoring the Opt-Out
WDMA is also advocating for reform of the Environmental Protection Agency’s
(EPA) Lead Renovation Repair and Paint (LRRP) rule. Proposed legislation
would restore the “Opt-Out Provision” allowing homeowners without small
children or pregnant women present to decide whether to require LRRP compliance,
suspend the LRRP if EPA cannot approve one or more test kits that meet
the regulation’s requirements and provide a de minimis exemption for first-time
Fighting for a More Balanced Approach
Overregulation affects the economic competitiveness of manufacturers.
WDMA supports legislation offering a balanced approach to EPA’s Boiler
Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules, allowing the agency the time
it needs to re-propose the rules and get them right, while giving companies
the certainty they need to plan, invest and comply with the rules’ capital-intensive
In addition, there is a need for legislation enhancing the regulatory
process which has been unchanged since 1946. There are several ways to
improve the regulatory process, including increased public participation
in shaping rules before they are proposed, preventing agency abuses of
interim final rules, requiring agencies to use the least costly option
in most circumstances and providing for appropriate review of the rationality
of agency decisions.
If you would like to weigh in on these issues with your members of Congress,
you can make your voice heard in Washington by attending the WDMA Spring
Meeting and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., March 5-7. Visit
www.wdma.com for more
Ben Gann is director of legislative affairs and grassroots activities
for the WDMA in Washington, D.C.
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