WASHINGTON, DC — In remarks before the board of directors of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Vice President Dick Cheney praised the housing industry for its contribution to the American economy and for its efforts in helping victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Housing activity accounts for 14% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), Cheney stated, “and a healthy economy and a confident nation depend on a vigorous housing industry.”

He said that the Bush administration, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, is committed to working with home builders to broaden home ownership, especially among minority households who lag behind their white counterparts despite significant gains in recent years.

He added that President Bush has directed Martinez to streamline the process for buying a home and “to bring down needless barriers” that increase transaction costs.

Cheney said that “the best thing the government can do” for housing is to keep the economy strong and growing, and he pledged that the administration would return to a balanced budget once it has made provisions to protect Americans from terrorism at home and to root out the sources of terrorism abroad.

Despite the largest increase in defense spending since the Reagan administration, including a pay raise for everyone in uniform and “the best equipment, the best training, and the best support we can give them,” he said that it was possible to return to a balanced budget in three years, provided that Congress keeps spending under control.

“Out of control spending is a threat to prosperity and we must not allow it,” he said, and he indicated that the president was prepared to “protect the American taxpayer with his veto pen” if the Congress should pass fiscally irresponsible spending measures.

Cheney praised NAHB for its Home Builders Care Victims’ Relief Fund, which raised $7 million in one week last September and millions more after that. “I congratulate you for your work,” he said, “and I commend you for the hard work you do every day in communities across the nation.”

Publication date: 06/10/2002