WASHINGTON, DC-The National Multi Housing Council and the National Apartment Association will be focusing steering several initiatives through Congress this year, the two associations have said. These range from immigration reform to tax policies to green building initiatives.

The organizations will also be renewing their lobbying to make sure last year’s defeat of the move to tax carried interest as ordinary income is permanent. NMHC/NAA released their 2008 public policy agenda as part of NAA’s annual Capitol Conference, held yesterday.

The underlying, or perhaps better put, unifying, theme to these various initiatives is the organizations’ goal to promote a smarter, more balanced national housing policy and more affordable housing. “For years, America has oversold homeownership as a panacea for all that ails the country, but we are now experiencing the consequences of that unbalanced approach to our housing and community development challenges,” says NMHC/NAA’s SVP of government affairs Jim Arbury. “We will use the lessons learned from the current housing market turmoil to strengthen our calls for a more balanced housing policy that more explicitly recognizes the value of rental housing.”

Highlights from the legislative agenda will include a request to Congress to provide incentives for energy-efficient and green buildings and equipment, and also to fund research to spur energy conservation; opposition to proposals to change the current law governing the tax treatment of carried interests; support of efforts to reform the estate tax rather than repealing it; and a request that Congress enact a comprehensive immigration law that protects borders and provides a reasonable and enforceable guest worker program.