Election Update: What the Results Mean for the Ready Mixed Concrete Industry
How this will impact NRMCA and the ready mix agenda?
No members of the Ready Mixed Concrete Caucus lost their reelection campains, though several are not returning to the House, including Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Luke Messer (R-IN), who each ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in their respective states, and Kevin Cramer, who was elected to represent North Dakota in the Senate. Sadly, the ready mixed concrete industry lost several champions, including Reps. David Young (R-IA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS), who were not members of the caucus but had championed NRMCA’s work on resiliency, Hours of Service and opposing mass timber.
The biggest impact of the midterm elections will be the loss of Republican chairmanships, though in some cases, this may be viewed as a mixed bag. Rep. Peter Defazio – who CONCRETEPAC has consistently supported – is poised to become chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rep. Defazio’s commitment to funding infrastructure and finding a solution to the Highway Trust Fund shortfall may make it easier to find common ground on an infrastructure bill. At the same time, Democrats are more likely to champion labor priorities like card check and oppose regulatory streamlining. In addition, with a growing number of Democrats – mostly in the Senate – gearing up for a 2020 presidential run, it is yet to be seen what the appetite for bipartisan solutions to problems like infrastructure may be.
While a Republican Congress tends to be more receptive and supportive of the priorities of a pro-business, pro-ready mixed concrete agenda, NRMCA has worked over the past years to build a concrete majority in Congress and is prepared to leverage its relationships on both sides of the aisle to continue to champion the ready mixed concrete industry.
Both parties in the House and Senate will hold leadership elections. Despite the Democratic congressional candidates – many of whom are now members-elect – who distanced themselves from Nancy Pelosi, she is expected to regain the speakership for the 116th Congress. Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is expected to be elected Minority Leader and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is expected to be elected Minority Whip. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-WA) is stepping down from her role as Republican Conference chairwoman and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is expected to assume that position. Many Republicans in the House conference have never served in Congress while being in the minority and the lack of clout is likely to be a rude awakening. In the Senate, Republican Majority Whip John Cornyn is term-limited from the position and Senator John Thune is expected to take his place. Click here for a Roll Call article overviewing the Hill leadership elections.
Congressional Activity in Lame Duck Session: government funding and border wall
Congress is facing an early December deadline to pass legislation to fund the government. At the end of the fiscal year on September 30, Congress had passed only seven of 12 appropriations bills. One of those bills, a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, is likely to set the stage for a showdown over funding for the President’s border wall. President Trump has suggested that he would veto legislation that does not contain this funding and that he would be willing to shut down the government in the process.
Farm Bill - House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has indicated that passing the Farm Bill will be a priority in the lame duck. Both House and Senate have passed competing versions of the legislation and negotiations over a unified bill stalled prior to most programs expiring on September 30. Reauthorizing the Farm Bill before the end of the calendar year will be critical to America’s farmers. NRMCA continues to monitor the activities of Congress relating to the farm bill for proposals to advance mass timber building programs and demonstration projects.
Nominations - The Senate continues to press forward with confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees and is likely to continue to confirm nominees through the four weeks of lame duck. To date, the Senate has confirmed 84 of President Trump’s judicial nominees. For those interested, the Heritage Foundation recently set up a Judicial Appointment Tracker to catalogue the nominees of not just President Trump’s nominees but of the nominees of past presidents as well. For a Bloomberg Government article on lame duck, click here.
For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at email@example.com.