Homebuilders Group Cuts Off Contributions To Congressional Campaigns

AP

WASHINGTON (AP) - The lobbying group representing homebuilders is cutting off contributions to federal congressional campaigns, saying lawmakers and the Bush administration have not done enough to stabilize the housing market.

The National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday its political action committee has decided to stop making contributions to candidates for Congress "until further notice."

Since 1990, the trade group has given nearly $20 million to federal candidates, with 35 percent going to Democrats and 65 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Lawmakers and the Bush administration "have not adequately addressed the underlying economic issues that would help to stabilize the housing sector and keep the economy moving forward," the trade group's president, Brian Catalde, said in a statement. "More needs to be done to jump-start housing and ensure the economy does not fall into a recession."

A spokeswoman for the trade group declined further comment.

The $168 billion economic stimulus package that President George W. Bush was scheduled to sign Wednesday contains several initiatives designed to boost the weakened sector.

The stimulus package raises the maximum size of mortgages that government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase and market as securities from $417,000 to as high as $729,750 in expensive parts of the country such as New York and California.

That change is effective until year-end. The homebuilders had been pushing for two years for broader changes, such as raising the Fannie and Freddie limits.

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