Republicans have maintained control of both houses and are now beginning to plan their agenda for the Lame Duck Session and next Congress. To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers need to pass a continuing resolution or another type of spending bill by December 9. The most likely outcome is a measure funding the government through late March or early May instead of through the fiscal year ending in October to allow the incoming Trump Administration a chance to press their priorities earlier than if they had to wait until the in their first year instead of waiting until the fall.
It appears likely that emergency funds will be tacked on to the spending bill to assist in the cleanup effort in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. This emergency funding could persuade the more conservative Members of Congress from Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas to cooperate, since many of their districts in these states were ravaged by flooding and high winds.
Vice President Biden has been lobbying Congress to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, as part of his “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, and Wednesday the House passed the legislation 392-26. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has voiced his support, it faces significant opposition with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. However, it is expected that the bill will generate enough Democrat support to get through the chamber.
Issues important to the multifamily industry also remain in the mix for the lame duck session. These potentially include the reauthorization of the EB-5 program, HUD program funding, mitigating the DOL overtime rule, privatized military housing authorization and building energy efficient tax incentives.
NMHC/NAA are well-positioned on Capitol Hill as we look to the 115th Congress. We will continue our aggressive advocacy efforts throughout the lame duck session and with the new Congress and Administration to advance the interests of the multifamily industry.
Republicans and Democrats Pick Party Leaders
On November 11, House Republicans
unanimously re-elected Speaker Ryan to serve as Speaker for the next two years. In his acceptance speech, Speaker Ryan said, “This
will be a government focused on turning President-elect Trump’s victory into
real progress for the American people.”
The Republican also re-elected Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA).
In keeping with the drama that has been the 2016 election, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faced her first significant challenge to her long tenured leadership after losing 63 votes to Tim Ryan (D-OH). To partially assuage her critics, and secure her position, Pelosi did create five new leadership positions, including two set aside for junior members, but the tension between newer and more established members of the conference and costal versus “flyover” Democrats is likely to be a major narrative in the new Congress. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), the minority whip; and Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), the assistant to the leader ran unchallenged for reelection, and the caucus elevated Joseph Crowley (D-NY) to Caucus Chairman, and Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA) to become the first Latina in leadership as Caucus Vice-Chairman.
Compared to the House, leadership elections in the Senate were a stayed affair. As expected, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) ascended to the role of Minority Leader with Dick Durbin (D-IL) remaining as Minority Whip and Patty Murray as Assistant Democratic Leader. The Senate Republican leadership remains largely unchanged with Mitch McConnell (R-KY) serving atop the upper chamber, with the minor exception of rising star Corey Gardner (R-CO) selected to run the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
Committee Chairs and Ranking Member positions have also been decided during the lame duck. The biggest news on that front was Sandy Levin’s decision to step aside as the senior Democrat on Ways and Means, opening the door for Richie Neal (D-NH) to assume the post.