In the biggest gain in the House of Representatives in decades, Republicans were swept into at least 60 seats in elections Tuesday. Some familiar faces to the manufactured housing industry stood despite the sea change. Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly, Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, Florida Republican Bill Posey and Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson return to the House. In addition, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby were re-elected.
Those not returning include Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln, Indiana Democrat Baron Hill, Mississippi Democrat Travis Childers and North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge.
“We’re glad to see our allies return to Congress,” says Mark Weiss representing the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). “We are sorry to see Travis Childers lose. He really went to bat for us in dealing with HUD. He wrote to HUD and met with leadership to address some regulatory issues. He was a very strong advocate for us.”
Weiss also specifically welcomed the return of Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, who he says went to bat for the manufactured housing industry on finance issues with Duty to Serve, FHA Reform and implementation of the 2000 Manufactured Housing Improvement Act.
Particularly tight were races in Nevada and Indiana. In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had been projected to come up short by about three percent in the most recent polls. Republican Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle in the end failed to get the needed votes and ended up five percentage points behind Reid.
In Indiana, a one point poll lead by Democrat Joe Donnelly looked like it could morph into defeat early in the race, but the final ended up remarkably close to the projection.
An analysis of Manufactured Housing Institute Political Action Committee (MHI-PAC) found that with the exception of Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas who received $4,000, all of the contributions of $3,000 or more ended in the hands of political victors. At least 17 contributions went to winning candidates while six went to losing candidates. One candidate with a $1,000 MHI-PAC contribution is in a still undecided race.
MHI reported that MHI-PAC had a successful election cycle with 84 percent of the pro-business candidates endorsed won their elections.
Candidates specifically mentioned as returning in an MHI-election-highlights email include Donnelly, Frank and California Republican and Chair of the House Manufactured Housing Caucus, Ken Calvert. MHI says Calvert will be instrumental in helping the industry navigate though the implementation process of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Specifically mentioned by MHI as not returning include Lincoln, Hill and North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge. Congressman Etheridge supported tax extension legislation (H.R. 4213) which was approved by the House of Representatives. The bill extends Section 45L, the tax credit providing $1,000 to manufacturers of Energy Star HUD Code homes and $2,000 for modular homes.
We also took note of which winning candidates were on record for having voted for the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, which impacted the manufactured housing industry in several ways, and will work on a more in-depth report. Perhaps most notably the SAFE Act has a looming negative impact. HERA, however, also provided the homebuyer tax credit, provided for FHA and GSE reform, placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, provided for the national affordable housing trust fund and Duty to Serve underserved markets.
Of the candidates mentioned here, Shelby, Reid, Donnelly, Frank, Calvert and Thompson voted for HERA. Losing candidates Shelby, Hill and Childers also voted yes on HERA. Posey was not in Congress at the time.
Finally with a Democratically-controlled Senate and Democratic President and a Republican-controlled House, news stories Wednesday focused on the potential stalemate in Congress that could make passing meaningful legislation problematic. To that, Thayer Long of MHI says he’s of the opinion that anything can get done if there is mutual respect and people committed to working together in a bi-partisan consensus-building fashion.
“At this point, it’s impossible to predict how these folks are going to behave,” Long says. “This is the set of cards we’ve been dealt,” further noting that manufactured housing “transcends party lines—affordable housing, jobs, those are things that everybody cares about. We’re fortunate to be in that position.
“Ultimately every politician is thinking about re-election. I think an improved economy can only improve any incumbents’ chances. I would think that Republicans, Democrats and President Obama will be able to work together to improve the economy,” Long says.
|STATE||(RE) ELECTED TO SENATE||VOTED FOR HERA||AMOUNT RECEIVED FROM MHI-PAC|
|Arkansas||Boozman (defeated incumbent Lincoln)||NA||$4,000 to defeated incumbent Lincoln|
|North Carolina||Ellmers ( defeated incumbent Etheridge)||NA||$1,000 to defeated incumbent Etheridge|
|STATE||ELECTED TO HOUSE||VOTED FOR HERA||AMOUNT RECEIVED FROM MHI-PAC|
|Indiana||Young (defeated incumbent Hill)||NA||$2,000 went to defeated incumbent Hill|
|Mississippi||Nunnelee (defeated incumbent Childers)||NA||$0|
Charts created by MHMSM.com’s Industry in Focus Reporter Eric Miller ##