From the NLBMDA’s chair, an open letter to Congress

The following letter from Christopher Yenrick, president of Smith Phillips Building Supply in Winston-Salem, N.C., appears as an introduction to the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association’s 2014 National Policy Agenda.

"As lawmakers in the 113th Congress continue their work to restore growth and economic opportunity for our country, the nation’s building supply chain continues its recovery from the historic downturn in housing. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) stands ready to work with policymakers on job creation and sound fiscal policies that will restore housing as the cornerstone of a strong economy. We also encourage you to roll back the red tape and costly mandates that have dampened economic growth. 

"Environmental regulation has imposed costly burdens on the building supply industry that have little or no demonstrated health benefits. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Rule for residential renovation, imposed in 2010 without adequate time for training and consumer education, continues to challenge lumber and building material dealers and our customers. Moreover, the Agency’s failure to approve accurate lead-paint test kits that comply with the rule exposes us to undue liability.

"Unfounded and unfair lawsuits are also having an increasingly negative effect on the ability of lumber and building material dealers to run their businesses and contribute to their communities. NLBMDA supports the proposed Innocent Sellers Fairness Act that would protect distributors and retailers from unwarranted product liability lawsuits. A product liability suit that consumes time and limited financial resources is a threat dealers can ill afford -- particularly for cases where the product failure or damage was caused without the retailer’s knowledge or control.

"Comprehensive tax reform is needed to restore the competitiveness of America’s lumber and building material dealers, but should also protect the mortgage interest deduction and promote and preserve the value of homeownership. Any reforms to the housing finance system should allow for additional private capital while preserving the availability of 30—year, fixed rate mortgages to credit worthy buyers. In addition, as green building becomes an increasing share of construction, standard-setting entities should recognize the preferability of wood as an inherently renewable resource.

"We look forward to working with Congress to review and roll back regulatory red tape and to pass common-sense, pro-growth policies that will keep the building supply industry and our national economy on a path of sustained growth."

 -- Chris Yenrick
President, Smith Phillips Building Supply