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Legislative Update

Gov't Affairs News

NECA Top Three 11/18/16

Nov 18, 2016

1. The Trump transition team began in earnest to put together its new Administration, with an announcement that Vice President-elect Mike Pence would take over as head of the transition. NECA sent a letter to the transition team on November 15, outlining our role in the electrical construction industry and our priority issues.

NECA’s Look Ahead: President-elect Donald Trump will announce on November 18 that he has selected retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a key military surrogate throughout his campaign as national security adviser. He also announced that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will serve as Attorney General and Rep Mike Pompeo (R-KS), as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In a “Team of Rivals” move, he will also meet this weekend with 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who is reportedly under consideration for Secretary of State, despite embarking on a one-man mission to block Trump from the White House. 

2. Congressional leaders kicked off the “lame duck” session of Congress this week by laying out plans for the remaining weeks of the 114th Congress as they also voted on leadership teams for the 115th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3, 2017.

The Senate Republican Leadership for the 115th Congress:

  • Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as Senate Republican leader,
  • John Cornyn (R-Texas) as Senate Republican whip,
  • John Thune (R-S.D.) as Senate Republican Conference chairman,
  • John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman,
  • Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) as Senate Republican Conference vice chairman, and
  • Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) as National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman.

The Senate Democratic Leadership for the 115th Congress:

  • Senate Democratic Leader and Chair of the Conference: Senator Charles Schumer
  • Minority Whip: Senator Dick Durbin
  • Assistant Democratic Leader: Senator Patty Murray
  • Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee: Senator Debbie Stabenow
  • Vice Chair of the Conference: Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Vice Chair of the Conference: Senator Mark Warner
  • Chair of Steering Committee: Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Chair of Outreach: Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Vice Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee: Senator Joe Manchin
  • Senate Democratic Conference Secretary: Senator Tammy Baldwin

The House Republican Leadership for the 115th Congress:

  • Speaker of the House: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • Majority Leader: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
  • Majority Whip: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Conference Chair: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • NRCC Chairman: Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
  • Policy Committee Chairman: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
  • Conference Vice-Chair: Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
  • Conference Secretary: Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)
  • Sophomore Representative: Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA)
  • Freshman Representative: Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)

NECA’s Look Ahead: In a surprise move, House Democrats decided to delay their leadership election this week, as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) put it off amid disarray over the party’s worse-than-expected election results. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), said November 17 that he will challenge Leader Pelosi for the top job as House Democrats are now scheduled to vote for Minority Leader and other posts by secret ballot on November 30.

3. After meeting with Vice-President-elect Pence this week, House and Senate Republican leaders agreed to abandon plans to finish up this year's appropriations bills this fall in order to give the new Congress and incoming Trump administration the final say over fiscal year 2017 spending. Rather than a large omnibus that could have served as a vehicle for other must-pass bills, the House in December will take up a new continuing resolution (CR) that continues current funding through March 31, 2017. The announcement was at odds with plans that Republican leaders, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House and Senate appropriators were pursuing to finish the bills this December. Passage of some kind of funding bill is necessary before a current CR expires on December 9.

NECA’s Look Ahead: It is hoped that the new CR could include funding for items such as the Flint, MI water crisis and Louisiana flooding disaster assistance. Looking further down the road, the other big news this week is that House leaders are strongly considering ending the earmark ban as a means to restore the “powers of the purse” given to Congress by the Constitution. Speaker Ryan said next steps on the matter of earmarks will be decided next winter, before the next CR runs out. NECA sent a letter to members of the House and Senate urging for action on several items before Congress adjourns in December. You can take action, too, by telling your member of Congress and Senators to act on key legislation before the end of the year.