Industry Ally Proposes Congressional Manufactured Housing Task Force

MHARR LogoAs alluded to in our status report earlier today, the House Financial Services Committee  held a mark-up session today on H.R. 1751, a bill that would require HUD Code manufactured homes to be sold with a weather radio having certain prescriptive capabilities and features.  The most important element of the hearing, however, was a proposal by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) for the establishment of a bi-partisan working group, within the Housing Subcommittee, to analyze, examine and address all of the laws that impact manufactured housing, including laws relating to both public and private financing.  In offering this proposal, Mr. Frank, the ranking member of the full committee and a long-time industry ally in Congress, pointed out that manufactured housing faces “unfair denigration” that places it an “unfair disadvantage” generally and particularly with respect to both public and private financing.

Responding to this proposal later in the hearing, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Chairman of the Housing Subcommittee confirmed that in accordance with the February 2011 Financial Services Committee Oversight Plan, the Housing Subcommittee will, in fact, hold a hearing on manufactured housing issues in either late September or early October 2011.  In addition, she stated that she is receptive to the formation of a bi-partisan working group on manufactured housing issues to be convened either before or after the Fall Subcommittee hearing.

This significant movement forward in Congress, follows specific actions by MHARR in accordance with the Association’s November 2010 four-front plan of engagement with Congress.  These include a specific MHARR request for a congressional hearing on the manufactured housing program, follow-up meetings with the Chairman of the full committee and Chairman Biggert to press for a specific commitment to such a hearing after ensuring that it was included in the February oversight plan, and a lengthy meeting in March 2011 to update Rep. Frank and his staff on the current status of HUD’s failure to fully and properly implement key reforms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and related issues, including financing, that are at the root of the industry’s sustained and drastic decline.

MHARR will now act quickly to follow-up on these significant initiatives and commitments in a manner consistent with the Association’s November 2010 plan of engagement with Congress.  

With regard to the weather radio legislation, the draft bill, introduced in its current form on May 5, 2011, was approved by the Committee without further amendment and will be sent to the full House.  At present, there is no parallel bill pending in the Senate.

While the bill, in its present form includes a provision that would protect manufacturers from Subpart I liability, it does not include an exemption from civil liability.  If a parallel bill is introduced in the Senate, MHARR will press for that legislation to include civil liability exemption language drafted by MHARR that was, in fact included in a previous Senate weather radio bill offered by Senator Bayh in 2010.

We will continue to keep you updated on all of these important issues as developments unfold.  # #

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075

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