2016 Election Wrap-Up in a Word….WOW
The traditional political/pollster minds were not only challenged in Tuesday’s elections, they were up-ended.
We all know by now: Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Republicans will continue to control both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate (though some races are still too close to call – control of the House and Senate are locked for the next two years).
But what will the elections mean for p-h-c contractors?
There are two separate, yet intricately intertwined, actions that will soon begin to take place in Washington, DC. The first will be the transition and creation of a vision for a new Administration. The second will be the organization of the 115th Congressional cycle (2017 – 2018).
The first – the new Administration will attempt to outline a vision – a “wish” list for the short and long term for the next four years, and assemble a new team (Cabinet, etc.) to help carry out that vision. This vision is conveyed to Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and the American people. The challenge? The vast array of issues it needs to address – and the expectations it creates.
A new Administration, whether new or re-elected, tends to focus its vision on the “first 100 days.” President-Elect Trump has signaled to Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and the American people that he is building a list of priorities (though it is still early) for his first 100 days, including:
- Review of an issue that has been around for as long as Congress has – Congressional terms limits;
- Address illegal immigration – build a wall;
- Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare);
- Address the issue of the deterioration of military bases around the world, especially in the United States;
- Infrastructure spending; and,
- The appointment of federal judges including the Supreme Court.
An ambitious list, yet not completely unrealistic. Within that list of priorities is infrastructure spending, an issue that he already has bipartisan support on. From roads, bridges and highways to infrastructure spending for proper water supply (Flint, MI) the infrastructure of our nation continues to decline. Look for President-Elect Trump’s priority list to become more detailed over the next two months.
We can also expect a much less aggressive regulatory process – or at least a regulatory process more conducive to partnering with business. No one will scale back all of the regulations this industry is facing, however, we can expect agencies (regulators) will move to work in a more cooperative fashion with the industry. PHCC will continue to champion the need to reduce regulations that hinder our member’s ability to thrive.
But what about Congress…
In the House – Democrats picked up seats, but not nearly enough to take control of the House. Current Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is expected to be re-elected as speaker for the 115th Congress. The significance of Paul Ryan will be his focus on comprehensive tax reform. Remember, Paul Ryan only took over the Speakership in September of 2015 when then Speaker John Boehner stepped down. Ryan is a “budget guy,” and has a great talent for what works and what doesn’t in terms of the complicated tax structure of the United States. He has a legislative plan that he will begin to assemble in January.
Other special notes in the House –
- Congressman John Kline (R-MN) is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce (the committee of jurisdiction for workforce development issues). Congressman Kline will retire at the end of this year, and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is the likely successor to the Committee Chair. PHCC has a strong relationship with Congresswoman Foxx and we look forward to working together in the 115th Congress
- House Career and Technical Education Caucus Chairmen Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) also won re-election, and we look forward to working with the Chairmen and the Caucus. Both Thompson and Langevin are strong PHCC supporters.
- Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) won re-election and will retain his Chairmanship of the House Small Business Committee. The House Small Business Committee is key to PHCC and we have a very strong relationship with Chairman Chabot and his committee staff.
In the Senate…
- No doubt Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be re-elected Majority Leader. Retiring Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), has a long list of Minority Leader hopefuls including Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Remember, Senate Democrats were hopeful they would take control of the Senate based on the vulnerabilities of Republicans this election. Though Democrats picked up two seats, the next election cycle in two years will have Senate Democrats very exposed as they need to defend many more seats then Republicans.
- Retiring Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is the outgoing Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee (a very important committee for PHCC). His likely successors include Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who has an emerging relationship with PHCC.
- The Senator Career and Technical Education Caucus will, for the most part, stay intact. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) won re-election and will continue to serve as one of the four chairs of the caucus. Joining Senator Portman, will be re-elected Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who spoke at PHCC’s legislative conference in 2016. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will also serve as co-chair and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) fresh off the campaign trail, will return to the Senate.
It is too early to say what will happen in the near and long term in Washington, DC. Setting a policy agenda is always tough, as issues (natural catastrophes, global violence, world markets, etc.) tend to take lawmakers’ focus away from domestic issues.
Throughout this process, contractors can continue to count on PHCC National to have their backs – and we will continue to keep you informed about what you can do to protect you businesses and our industry.