Real Estate

27 Real Estate Execs Sign Letter Supporting Biden Stimulus Package

The letter called on legislative leaders to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which includes another stimulus check and faster vaccine rollout.

As President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan hangs in the balance, more than 160 of the nation’s most influential executives are advocating for its passage through a letter addressed to majority and minority leaders Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.

Among the 160 signees are 27 residential and commercial real estate executives, including Zillow Co-Founder and CEO Rich Barton, The Corcoran Group President and CEO Pamela Liebman, and WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani.

“We write to urge immediate and large-scale federal legislation to address the health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter read. “More than a year after the first coronavirus case was reported in the United States, our nation is still struggling to combat the spread and reverse its economic fallout.”

“Previous federal relief measures have been essential, but more must be done to put the country on a trajectory for a strong, durable recovery,” it added. “Congress should act swiftly and on a bipartisan basis to authorize a stimulus and relief package along the lines of the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed American Rescue Plan.”

The letter noted dismal unemployment rates, a boom in small business closures, childcare and education disparities in low-to-middle income households, an overburdened healthcare system, and widespread food insecurity as the motivation for signing the letter and calling on Democratic and Republican leaders and legislators to pass the bill as soon as possible.

“The American Rescue Plan provides a framework for coordinated public-private efforts to overcome COVID-19 and to move forward with a new era of inclusive growth,” the letter concluded. “The country’s business community is prepared to work with you to achieve these critical objectives.”

The American Rescue Plan hinges on several main objectives — launching a national vaccine program, safely reopening schools, sending another round of $1,400 stimulus checks, providing financial support for small business owners and job protection for first responders, medical professionals and essential workers.

“In addition to addressing the public health and economic crises head-on, the President’s plan will provide emergency funding to upgrade federal information technology infrastructure and address the recent breaches of federal government data systems,” Biden’s plan overview read. “This is an urgent national security issue that cannot wait.”

Despite resounding bipartisan support for the plan from voters, House and Senate Republicans said they won’t pass the bill as they believe Democrats have padded the bill with unnecessary legislation. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mitt Romney made public statements this week against the bill and said Republicans have been cut out of the drafting process.

“The partisan bill Democrats are preparing is stuffed with non-COVID-related liberal goals and more band-aid policies as if the country were going to stay shut down another year,” McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Not a lot is happening behind the scenes that involves Republicans,” Romney added in a separate statement. “I think the Democratic leadership has determined that they want to push through the plan without any changes to it whatsoever and without any input from Republicans, and because it’ll be done through budget reconciliation, they don’t need any of our votes.”

Despite a lack of Republican support, Democrats can still pass the bill through budget reconciliation, USA Today explained. The tactic allows a simple majority win with Vice President Kamala Harris being the deciding vote.

“We are not going to dilute, dither or delay,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of passing the bill by the mid-March deadline. “There’s nothing about the process itself that prevents bipartisanship.”

Here’s the full list of real estate executives who signed the letter: 

  1. Pamela Liebman, President & CEO, The Corcoran Group, Inc.
  2. Rich Barton, Co-Founder & CEO, Zillow
  3. Charles R. Bendit, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Taconic Investment Partners LLC
  4. Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive Officer, The Related Companies, L.P.
  5. Martin S. Burger, Chief Executive Officer, Silverstein Properties, Inc.
  6. Richard A.C. Coles, Founder & Managing Partner, Vanbarton Group LLC
  7. Douglas Durst, Chairman, Durst Organization Inc.
  8. Douglas F. Eisenberg, Founder and CEO, A&E Real Estate, LLC
  9. Ziel Feldman, Chairman & Founder, HFZ Capital Group
  10. Winston C. Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers
  11. Leslie W. Himmel, Managing Partner, Himmel & Meringoff Properties, Inc.
  12. Brian Kingston, CEO of Real Estate, Brookfield Asset Management
  13. Richard S. LeFrak, Chairman & CEO, The LeFrak Organization
  14. Barbara Armand Kushner, President, Armand Corporation
  15. Jeffrey E. Levine, Chairman, Douglaston Development
  16. Pamela Liebman, President & CEO, The Corcoran Group, Inc.
  17. Anthony Malkin, Chairman, President & CEO, Empire State Realty Trust
  18. Sandeep Mathrani, Chief Executive Officer, WeWork
  19. Edward J. Minskoff, Chairman & CEO, Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc.
  20. Michael Phillips, President, Jamestown Properties LLC
  21. Scott H. Rechler, Chairman & CEO, RXR Realty LLC
  22. Steven Roth, Chairman & CEO, Vornado Realty Trust
  23. William C. Rudin, Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company, Inc.
  24. Frank J. Sciame, Chairman & CEO, Sciame Construction, LLC
  25. Rob Speyer, President & CEO, Tishman Speyer
  26. Owen D. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Boston Properties
  27. Daniel R. Tishman, Vice Chairman, AECOM & Principal, Tishman Realty
  28. Jean-Marie Tritant, Chief Executive Officer, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

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