More than 700 homebuilders made the trip to Washington on Wednesday to call on Congress to make housing and homeownership a national priority by taking steps to get housing back on track.

"Though we are seeing some hopeful signs of recovery in many markets throughout the nation, our industry still faces stiff headwinds," said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.

Rutenburg said the builders are rallying because of persistently tight lending standards for homebuilders and homebuyers, uncertainty regarding the future of the housing finance system, ongoing threats to housing tax incentives and overly burdensome regulations. NAHB believes these factors are hampering the housing recovery and keeping home building from initiating new projects and hiring new employees.

In addition to the more than 250 meetings the builders scheduled to persuade members of Congress, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is scheduled to speak to the NAHB during its upcoming Spring Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C.

According to the NAHB, Donovan will discuss how the administration and NAHB can work together to build on recent momentum in the housing market by helping more responsible families refinance at today's historic low interest rates and taking other steps that help homeowners and create jobs.