The Washington Times - January 22, 2014, 11:01AM

As the housing market slowly recovers and home values steadily increase, the real estate industry is beefing up its lobbying muscle in Congress.

The National Association of Realtors reported a 53 percent increase in lobbying expenditures during the fourth quarter of 2013. The group reported spending $12,6 million, a jump of $4,380,000 from $8,240,000 reported at the end of the third quarter. Their total expenditures for 2013 were $38,500,000.

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The association is the second largest spender on lobbying, according to the Political Money Line blog from Roll Call. The top spender in the fourth quarter was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which reported spending h $16.5 million in total on lobbying efforts.

Among the top issues for Realtors: the future of the mortgage interest deduction, the availability of mortgage loans, flood insurance, and real estate settlement procedures reform.

According to the Roll Call blog, the association has outlined a media plan for 2014 to promote opportunities for buyers and sellers in today’s housing market and plans to spend $5.3 million on TV ads in the first quarter of 2014.