CRE Industry Turns to Congress to Move Meaningful Legislation Forward

Commercial real estate is looking at the GOP’s majority in the House and Senate, and the 2016 presidential election, as signs that legislation on energy, tax code and infrastructure will make their way into law during the next two years. NAIOP President and CEO Thomas Bisacquino was interviewed for a piece, “Dawn of a New Age?” in the December 2014 issue of Commercial Property Executive.

In part, the article reads:

The outcome of the midterm election will create the most Republican Congress since 1929, with the GOP gaining at least eight seats in the Senate and another 13 in the House. With just a few weeks left in the lame-duck session, there is a short-term focus by CRE leaders and Congress to hit a compromise on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and get it on President Obama’s desk. Come the new year, there will be no shortage of general policies for Congress to work on.

“The Republicans really want to show that they can govern,” said Tom Bisacquino, president & CEO of NAIOP. “They understand that they just can’t sit and continue that gridlock we have had over the past two – or arguable the past six – years.

Some of the policy, like TRIA, will need to get hammered out before the 114th Congress convenes on January 3. The Senate passed its Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 in July, though TRIA legislation ended up getting stuck in the House.

“We really need to move TRIA forward,” Bisacquino observed. “Both parties agree that we need to get something done. Furthermore, I don’t think that [Senator Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell really wants to take over in January with baggage from 2014.”

One likely bill [to be brought to the president’s desk] is a revised version of the bipartisan Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The legislation died in the Senate back in March 2014 after partisan sparring over Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the Keystone Pipeline. Shaheen was one of the few Democrats that managed to squeak by in the midterm election, winning 51.6 percent of the vote over former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.

“With Shaheen coming back, we may see early energy legislation, which the President is definitely in support of,” Bisacquino said. “I think the President has some items on his agenda that he wants to move forward. You have got this same pressure in the Senate and the House to move legislation. At this point, we are at least guardedly optimistic that we are going to see things move forward.”

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