Affordable housing, truck drivers, and credit card fees dominated the discussions March 30 when members of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) made their annual visit to Capitol Hill.
NLBMDA asked members of Congress to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which increases support for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Developers get the federal tax credit if they agree to reserve some units under rent restrictions for lower-income households.
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act aims to boost investment in affordable housing and build 2 million new homes across the U.S. over the next decade. "Without LIHTC, there would be virtually no private investment in affordable housing," NLBMDA's issue summary says.
Encouraging truck drivers to enter and then stay in the industry spurred introduction of another NLBMDA favorite: The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act.
SHIP IT seeks to boost interest in the industry over the next two years by offering new drivers a $10,000 tax credit and existing drivers a $7,500 tax credit. The act also would help cover the costs of driver training, streamline the process of getting a commercial driver's license, and expand access to truck parking and rest facilities.
Credit card fees get targeted in the proposed Credit Card Competition Act. The bill requires that credit cards be able to be processed over at least two unaffiliated networks. Visa and MasterCard hold a near-monopoly over processing, and charges for card processing rose 25% in 2021 alone to a record $137.8 billion, NLBMDA says. The association believes that increased competition in the processing business will encourage processors to reduce their fees.