In the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives while Republicans gained seats to solidify their hold on the Senate. This will lead to a federal government that operates differently than what has been seen the past few years, and electrical contractors may be curious how this will affect their businesses.
Many results further emphasized the polarized climate in American politics, and in a divided U.S. Congress, cooperation is unlikely to be the name of the game. We expect the two chambers will devote a lot of energy to checking each other. On the House side, the greatest challenge for Democrats will be how they handle their newfound power. Like any party taking control of either chamber of Congress, there will be internal fights on achieving balance between real oversight versus overreaching.
For NECA contractors, however, the most exciting developments could be related to infrastructure as this is the one area that has potential for agreement between the two parties. It also happens that a win on this issue would benefit President Trump after he pulled back on the public/private partnership he announced in 2017.
Other potential areas in which NECA contractors can hope for headway are workforce development, trade, energy improvement and pension reform. Healthcare will continue to be a hot-button issue, but substantive reform is unlikely in a divided federal government.
Finally, it remains to be seen what will be done in the lame-duck session of Congress, as House Speaker Paul Ryan concludes his final term. While republicans would like to secure some final victories while they are in charge in the House, to what extent remains uncertain beyond a final budget agreement. Similarly, the Democratic Speaker of the House—presumed to be Nancy Pelosi—would like a clean slate to begin 2019, so she may also want to tackle some unresolved items so as to deliver some wins for her caucus.