Government funding was set to expire on September 30. With only hours to spare, Congress sent President Joe Biden a nine-week government funding extension. The bill continues funding at current levels through December 3 and includes a reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Meanwhile, Congress continues to deliberate on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which includes two bills: a bipartisan “hard” infrastructure plan covering traditional items like roads and bridges, and a “human” infrastructure plan focused on items like education and health care.
House Democratic leaders delayed a planned vote on the bipartisan hard infrastructure bill on September 30 after some legislators first sought a deal on the human infrastructure bill. This delay resulted in a temporary lapse in certain surface transportation programs, but Congress then passed a one-month extension. The bipartisan hard infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate.
As October began, attention turned to the urgent need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned of “catastrophic” consequences if Congress failed to act before October 18.
With more than $8 trillion in mortgage debt backed by the federal government, the real estate sector is highly susceptible to market instability. A debt default would unleash unnecessary and unknown harm on the economy and our 1.5 million members, most of whom are small business owners. And rising interest rates would serve a devastating blow to the homeownership dreams of countless American families.
President Joe Biden invited NAR President Charlie Oppler and other business leaders to the White House on October 6 to discuss the urgency of this issue. Following the meeting, congressional leaders signaled they would pursue a short-term debt ceiling extension. They announced a deal the next day – pushing yet another deadline to December 3.
These short-term fixes have extended the congressional spooky season, and NAR will continue working with lawmakers on these crucial issues. Though there could be toil and trouble in the coming weeks, we know this is important and necessary work to keep our markets stable and our country strong.