Beltway Agenda After ElectionNovember 9, 2016
The voters have spoken, and in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, both chambers of Congress as well as the White House will now be led by Republicans. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, Donald Trump was named the winner of the presidential race with 279 electoral votes and more likely once the remaining states finalize their results. In the Senate, Republicans will have a slim majority in the 115th Congress, with 51 seats to Democrats 47, and two races remaining, one winner for each party expected. In the House, Republicans handily maintained their majority, though shy of a super-majority able to override a presidential veto, with 239 Republicans to 193 Democrats, and just a handful of races remaining to be called.
“The National Small Business Association congratulates President-elect Donald Trump and the returning and newly elected Members of Congress. After a very difficult election season, I urge policymakers to reach across the aisle to work on the important issues facing our nation: reducing the deficit and our long-term debt; reforming our overly complex tax code; reining-in the costs of health care; strengthening our international trade agreements; and streamlining burdensome regulations,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken.
Among the key issues that may be addressed in the lame-duck are spending bills; work on key trade issues including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Export-Import Bank Board; the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); the Water Development Bill; and a conference report on energy legislation.
The current continuing resolution (CR) that is funding the federal government expires Dec. 9 forcing lawmakers to either enact a spending bill through Sept. 30, or, perhaps more likely, punt on the issue and simply pass another short-term spending measure.
Given president-elect Trump’s criticism of trade deals, TPP—which NSBA has strongly supported—could be something pro-trade Republicans and Democrats aim to push through. TPP holds enormous potential to increase small business exporting, and NSBA’s recent exporting survey found that the greatest challenges to exporting are: concerns about getting paid; and complexity and confusion – both issues the TPP could address for small firms.
The NDAA is another piece of legislation seen as must-pass and sets policy and spending priorities for the Department of Defense (DoD). Unfortunately, despite several positive provisions in the NDAA, the Senate’s version of the bill includes language that would enable DoD to count small-business subcontracts toward the agency’s overall small-business prime contracting goals – a provision that could decimate small-business procurement at DoD.
House and Senate conferees have been working on reconciling their versions of energy bills (H.R. 8/S. 2012), which could result in enactment of the first major energy bill since 2007. And finally, the Senate and House may take up their respective versions of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 which would address flood-risk management, provide hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and potentially include funding for the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and Hurricane Matthew relief.
Looking further to the future and the first 100 days of the Trump administration, it’s likely trade will continue to be at the forefront, with Trump aiming to quash TPP and change NAFTA. Immigration reform is also likely to be a top priority – both issues which, depending on how they are done, could be problematic for small business. Under Republican majorities across Pennsylvania Ave., broad tax reform is squarely on the table, which holds great significance to small businesses, 83 percent of which are pass-throughs, making corporate-only tax reform a nonstarter. Trump and Republicans also have repeatedly called for repealing the Affordable Care Act, which is likely to be a centerpiece of their platform in the early months and throughout the coming two years.
Moving forward from a particularly bruising campaign will certainly be difficult, but is a must.
NSBA’s McCracken went on to state that, “Economic and political uncertainty is a huge concern for small businesses, and the top priority for lawmakers today and in the coming months must be to ensure political stability and promote economic growth. NSBA is committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in moving the country forward.”
Earlier today, NSBA hosted an issue briefing for members to provide in-depth analysis on the election outcomes. If you missed the call, please click here to download the podcast.
Additionally, on Feb. 16-17, 2017 in Washington, D.C., NSBA will hold its Small Business Congress to discuss and develop a small-business agenda for upcoming session of Congress. Attendees will network with some of America’s most active small-business leaders, discuss and debate key small-business issues, and hear from policy insiders on the top issues facing their small business. Held right as the 115th Session of Congress kicks off, attendees will gain a unique perspective of the inner-workings of Congress, as well as craft the association’s platform for the coming two years. Please stay tuned to nsba.biz for details.