Quick Hit – November 8, 2018

How do Midterm Election Results Impact You?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) officially announced her bid to become House speaker again. (CBS News)

2018 Midterm Elections

As as a result of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives, and Republicans have kept control of the Senate. While results are still incomplete from a few close races, Democrats have won more than the 218 seats needed for control of the House, gaining 28 seats, and Republicans are positioned to extend their majority in the Senate. Currently, Senate results reflect 51 – 46 in favor of Republicans, with Florida, Arizona, and Mississippi likely to go Republican. In the House, results reflect 223 – 197 in favor of Democrats, but forecasters are predicting a final count of 229 – 206.

Immediate Considerations

  • How did your relationships fare in the election?
  • Are your champions still positioned to guide, assist, challenge policy and address funding issues of interest to you?
  • How have committees of interest and oversight for issues concerning your business been impacted by election results?

What “Split Control” Means

  • In the House, all committees and committee staffs will change structure by: shifting to Democrat chairmanships; adjusting seats to reflect more Democrat seats than Republican; and, increasing Democrat (majority) staff while decreasing Republican (minority) staff.
  • The speedy appropriations process that has unfolded for FY19, including the relative ease with which a topline budget was agreed, will come to a halt.
  • Spending and policy issues will be much more difficult to reconcile between House and Senate positions, and will require real compromise to reach completion. In some cases, statesmanship will prevail.
  • The “Freedom Caucus” in the House, which exercised considerable sway over House Republican Leadership in recent years, is effectively powerless.

What’s Next in the Near Term?

Congress returns November 13, 2018 for a “lame duck” session. Republicans will expend great effort attempting to wrap up appropriations, including the Homeland Security appropriation where President Trump’s signature border wall would potentially be funded.

What’s Next for the New Congress?

  • After a Holiday break, Congress will return January 3, 2019 to formulate the 116th Congress, a two-year period covering calendar 2019-2020. Unfinished legislation from the 115th Congress will either expire or will have to be reintroduced in the new Congress.
  • Committees will be reconfigured, a process that normally takes multiple weeks. In both the House and Senate, election losses have created vacancies on multiple committees. Specific rules about the number and types of committees on which Members may serve will cause movement, as some Members will exercise their seniority to serve on a more relevant committee.
  • Leadership teams will be reelected in Congress, including Speaker of the House, Leaders of the House and Senate, Majority and Minority Whips of the House and Senate, etc. This process typically takes days, and is normally pre-ordained.
Republican whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) launched his bid to be minority leader in the next Congress. (CBS News)

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