Gibbs Seeks Answers on Softwood Lumber Policy

May 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Gibbs led a group of colleagues on a letter admonishing the Biden administration and pushing for a plan of action to help reduce the price of softwood lumber, currently seeing skyrocketing costs and hampering the building of new homes.

Partly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic the supply of softwood lumber has been dramatically disrupted and the price of lumber has increased 300% since the spring of 2020. The additional costs to homebuilding have added $36,000 to a new home construction price.

The letter, sent to President Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, asks the administration to answer four key questions surrounding supply, labor, tariffs, and a timeline on its resolution:

  1. Understanding that COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply disruptions and prices have soared, does the administration have a plan to mitigate these disruptions and restore a reasonable supply and demand balance for the nation’s softwood lumber producers, builders, and consumers?
  2. Does the administration have plans to include initiatives to address worker shortages?
  3. What steps has the administration taken to address the Canadian trade issue? If not, what steps if any will the administration be willing to undertake to move forward on a new agreement?
  4. Considering the urgency of this issue, can the administration provide a planned timeline of action regarding softwood lumber?

After sending the letter, Congressman Gibbs said:

“Multiple factors have contributed to the spike in softwood lumber costs. However, the main driver is an unstable labor market caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the unintended consequences of extended unemployment benefits. As the United States works through our trade issues with Canada, our domestic efforts should be focused on fully reopening our economy and getting Americans back to work. We are on the verge of what should be an economic boom. The last thing we need is distortions in the labor market driving up costs. I and my colleagues urge the Biden administration to find commonsense solutions in addressing the labor and supply disruptions in the softwood lumber market.”

Joe Race, Executive Director of the Stark Building Industries Association, also provided the following statement:

“The average price for a new home built in East Central Ohio has risen by over $36,000. over the course of a year. Our industry creates 17% of the United States GDP and we need help getting this issue solved immediately. Americans are rapidly losing the ability to achieve the Great American Dream of homeownership.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Gibbs was joined by Reps Michael Waltz, Blake Moore, Doug Lamborn, Mike Kelly, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Bost, Glenn Grothman, Chris Jacobs, Robert Latta, Troy Balderson, Tracey Mann, Scott Franklin, David Kustoff, Beth Van Duyne, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Jake LaTurner, Louie Goehmert, Claudia Tenney, Rick Crawford.

 

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