The 2022 midterm congressional elections are nearing completion. The manufactured housing industry faces what may well be the worst regulatory onslaught in its history. The self-proclaimed national representative of “all segments” of the manufactured home industry – the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – owes the industry an explanation for its serial failures with respect to the U.S. Department of Energy’s manufactured housing “energy conservation” rule, in this fact and evidence based editorial viewpoint. MHI also has a parallel duty to do the right thing by leading a manufactured housing industry legal challenge to stop this approaching travesty, that MHI admits is coming and will be harmful if not stopped.
Of course, part of doing that might require MHI to come clean about its role in foisting this oncoming disaster on the industry and the consumers who depend on the affordability of manufactured housing. For starters, despite MHI’s periodically touted “clout” on Capitol Hill, that association’s leaders allowed environmental extremists to single-out manufactured housing for discriminatory treatment in the so-called Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. That law stripped HUD of its jurisdiction over manufactured housing energy regulation and transferred that authority to the zealots at the Department of Energy (DOE). Together with a directive to saddle manufactured homes with energy standards based on the latest International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) – noting that those IECC standards looming for manufactured housing don’t apply to million-dollar site-built homes in most parts of the country.
Then, when it appeared that DOE was getting nowhere with the development of those standards in 2014 and 2015, MHI provided cover for DOE to launch a phony “negotiated rulemaking,” while providing the votes needed to advance the proposal developed through that sham process. See the details in the report linked below.
Since then, MHI has effectively done nothing to stop or even delay the DOE rule scheduled to take effect on May 31, 2023.
As it stands, the rule is projected to increase the cost of some double-section homes by $6,000 or more, according to DOE’s own estimates. That increase could eliminate millions of potential customers from the HUD Code manufactured home market. Energy regulations can’t help consumers if those consumers can’t buy the home in the first place due to the higher costs involved.
Now with enforcement of this DOE energy rule just over 6 months away, and given that it will take factories time to prepare for the implementation of the DOE manufactured housing energy rule, MHI is again apparently gaslighting the industry with what it calls a “multi-pronged strategy.” Without answering, at least publicly, MHProNews’ inquiries to them are several questions. One of them is this Masthead editorial’s obvious question for MHI — “a multi-pronged strategy to accomplish what?”
MHI claims among other things that its pursuing proposed legislation that would require DOE to consult with HUD; require DOE to “document” that its rule is “cost-effective based on the impact of homebuyer price and cost increases;” require such standards to “fully take into consideration manufactured housing construction methods and transportation requirements;” and require those standards “to be adopted by HUD as part of the HUD Code.” Those are per MHI’s own recently emailed remarks to its own members.
The problem with this legislative “strategy” – whether “multi-pronged” or not – is that with the 2022 midterm election results largely known, it is obvious that:
(1) MHI’s plan will not work for reasons explained herein.
(2) MHI leaders ought to know that their plan will not work; and
(3) thus, that MHI is apparently engaging in a “smoke and mirrors” effort to buy time and avoid pursuing an industry lawsuit to overturn and stop the DOE rule in its tracks.
By accident or design, MHI’s stated plans with regard to the DOE energy rules are heading nowhere. See the previously published analysis of MHI’s legislation odds, which per GovTrack and Skopos Labs pre-midterms, had only a 2 percent chance of enactment. We think Skopos and GovTrack are being too generous at 2 percent, because the odds of MHI getting their bill through Congress and signed by Joe Biden are near zero.
Understanding Crony Corporate, Paltering Media, Washington D.C. Reality Check with B.S. Decoder Ring – Sunday Satire on National, Affordable Housing Issues, with Weekly MHVille Headlines Review
There are some things that at first blush seem to be so bizarre that they seem too odd to believe. Picture two top Republicans at odds and then look at why. Last night (9.17.2022) at a “Save America” rally in Youngstown, OH, the 45th President of the United States (POTUS) told a packed arena about the corruption of ‘RINO’ Mitch McConnell (KY-R).
For those who want to give MHI the benefit of the doubt, recall that something similar occurred with MHI’s Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act effort. Once something happens, something similar can obviously occur.
The reasons for this are simple and are made even more glaringly obvious given the results of the November 8, 2022 midterm election.
In the current Democrat-controlled Congress, MHI’s legislation is, and will be, going exactly nowhere. That should be obvious by its lack of any Democrat co-sponsors.
But now, in the wake of the midterm election, it is also clear (or should be) that nothing is going to change substantially in the new Congress on the energy front. While a bill could possibly sneak through in the House with a small Republican majority, it would not stand a chance in a closely-divided Senate with either a Democrat majority or enough Democrats to maintain a filibuster. And even if lightning struck and a bill miraculously passed both houses of Congress, a still-in-the White House ‘President Joe Biden’ would be waiting with his veto pen.
So, a legislative “fix” for the DOE manufactured housing energy standards fiasco is not in the cards – not even a little.
As for the remainder of MHI’s “multi-pronged” strategy, that is an issue that we will undoubtedly hear about from other national manufactured housing industry trade organization, namely the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). MHProNews has reported for years that MHARR has been consistently aggressive in opposing this monster DOE energy regulation, without any meaningful help from MHI.
In the meantime, the clock is ticking toward May 31, 2023. With no remedy in place and no apparent effort by MHI to move forward on what is likely the only real remedy that can stop the industry-killing DOE standards before they go into effect – which is an joint-industry lawsuit between the two national trade group’s to obtain an injunction. MHARR has offered to do that so long as MHI does so too. Why is MHI stonewalling and silent on joining with MHARR to do the obvious? ##
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Stay tuned for more of what is 'behind the curtains' as well as what is obvious and in your face reporting that are not found anywhere else in MHVille. It is all here, which may explain why this is the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. "Tony" Kovach - for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He's a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC's and/or the writer's position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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Construction News Today-'MHI Does Not Represent Entire Industry' Manufactured Housing Assoc Slams Manufactured Housing Institute on Energy Rule, Homestar's Jayar Daily Redux; MHVille Markets
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