BEDFORD, NH – A shutdown of the federal government may be coming in just a few days, and that shutdown could have significant impact on New Hampshire’s housing market if it comes to pass.
U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) met with leaders in the Granite State’s real estate industry to discuss the implications of Congress not passing either an annual budget or continuing resolution by the end of the federal government’s fiscal year by month’s end.
Shaheen said that the Senate is largely unanimous in seeking action, noting several bi-partisan appropriations bills that have been passed in recent months. Instead, she said that the issue appears to be with several extremists in the House. While she said that shutting down the federal government is actually more expensive than keeping it going, it was her hope that this would be a comparable false alarm to that with the debt ceiling impasse in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
“Hopefully this will just be a practice run and we won’t have a shutdown, but the news doesn’t look good at this point,” she said.
Across the room, the experts told Shaheen that if the shutdown occurs, it would have a significant impact in the short term and echo in the long term, with greater impacts the longer the shutdown continues. Realtors, homebuilders and home loan experts expressed concerns with delays on federally-backed loan programs, shortages from delays on resources needed for the importation of materials needed for home building. Representatives of local housing authorities said that delays in federal funding could impact voucher programs, creating irrevocable rifts of trust between tenants relying on those funds and the federal government and similar trust deficits between landlords and the government.
Matt Mayberry, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association and former Republican Congressional Candidate, thanked Shaheen for her leadership on this issue and expressed concern about the impact it would have on veterans trying to purchase a home. He also expressed frustration with some Republicans who seem to want a shutdown, given that even a one-week shutdown would impact thousands of Federal Housing Administration loans.
Shaheen agreed with Mayberry that New Hampshire residents should ask presidential candidates about their thoughts on the possible shutdown as they campaign throughout the Granite State, and she urged the leaders to reach out to their networks as well and urge them to contact their elected officials about the topic as well as things that can be done regarding housing costs at all levels of government, even though gerrymandering has made it more difficult to hold elected officials accountable.
“It’s important to remind people that we have the power to change this, but we have to act if we’re going to do that,” she said.
While she said she hopes that U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would ignore the threats from extreme members of his caucus and work with Democrats to pursue a deal that would keep the government open, she was unsure if that would happen. She also opined against the Hastert Rule, an unofficial rule Republican speakers have followed over the past few decades that no legislation comes to the floor without a “majority of the majority’s members,” making a compromise more difficult.
However, she also shared news of several recent housing initiatives from the Upper Valley as proof that solving New Hampshire’s housing shortage can be addressed with cooperation and ideas.
“There are some very exciting and creative things going on at the grassroots and I think we need to share that so we don’t get depressed,” she said.
She also urged those at the meeting to reach out to her office to help facilitate in situations where projects need critical guidance related to problems related to the federal government.