Republicans Take Control of the Senate, Increase Majority in the House
Leading up to Tuesday’s election, Republicans were gaining
momentum and it was accurately predicted that they would take control of the
Senate. However, they exceeded
expectations by winning 52 seats (they could potentially reach as many as 55
once all elections are decided). In addition, the party increased their total
of governorships in the face of virtually all predictions projecting GOP
Alaska and Virginia have yet to be called and Louisiana will be
decided in a December run-off. Senate Committee leadership will now all change
to Republican, and the membership ratios between the two parties will reflect
the full Senate's new partisan division that will be finalized in the next few
The Louisiana Senate race between Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep.
Bill Cassidy (R) has ended with Landrieu barely finishing in first in the
state's "jungle" primary (42 percent) and came nowhere close to
obtaining 50 percent of the vote needed to win the election. The three
Republicans on the ballot received a total of 55.8 percent of the vote, so it
is very likely that Cassidy prevails in next month’s head-to-head matchup.
Additionally, with Democrats losing their majority, Landrieu has lost one of
her chief selling points to voters – her power as chairwoman of the Energy and
Natural Resources Committee.
In early 2013, not many people thought Republicans could obtain
the Senate majority. But, 2014 brought low approval ratings for President
Barack Obama and the Democrats, which turned the tide in favor of Republicans
despite the GOP having even lower approval numbers. This 2014 election featured
a unique voting pattern because both parties were unpopular in the public’s eye.
The low mid-term turnout factored heavily into these results, just as it did in
2010. We continue to see a pattern where Republicans do well in the low turnout
elections and Democrats excel in the higher turnout, presidential election
years. Expect this state of political flux to continue into the 2016 cycle and
In the House, the GOP
showed strong incumbent retention as it only lost two seats – FL-2 represented
by Rep. Steve Southerland and NE-2 represented by Rep. Lee Terry. Rep.
Vance McAllister (R) also lost, but that seat will remain in Republican control
following a run-off next month. Additionally, Republicans picked up at least
15 seats for a current net gain of 13. With 11 races too close to call and two
headed for a run-off, the GOP may well expand its majority to the 250 plateau.
Two notable Democratic incumbent losses include Rep. John Barrow (GA-12), who
was defeated by former AGC Georgia president Rick Allen (R), and 19-term Rep.
and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall
(WV-3) was defeated by Evan Jenkins (R).
Committee leadership and membership will be tweaked somewhat, but
most chairmen will remain in their current positions. Major posts such as House
Ways & Means, Agriculture, and Oversight and Government Reform will choose
Going into the election, 47 seats were open. Added to the number
of incumbent defeats, the freshman class will likely feature at least 60 new
members when all of the votes are counted, 43 Republicans and 17 Democrats.
Republicans also increased their national majority in state
Governors from 29 to 31. Democrats drop to 18, with likely one Independent
(Alaska's Bill Walker who appears to have unseated Gov. Sean Parnell (R)).
For more information,
please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or email@example.com.
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Mostly Positive Results for Infrastructure Measures on the Ballot
Billions in Construction Bonds Approved, Some Defeats
Big bond measures and
infrastructure ballot initiatives ended up being a mixed bag for the 2014
general election. States secured more than $11 billion in construction funding
measures and bonds while sending a few infrastructure measures back to the
backed Proposition 1 more than two to one, approving $7.5 billion in bonds for
funding water quality, supply, and infrastructure improvements. The bond
would fund new dams in Central and Northern California, clean up groundwater in
Riverside and Los Angeles counties and restore much of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta. However, by almost the same margin against, voters in Louisiana
rejected an amendment that would have capitalized a state infrastructure bank
for transportation projects.
secured about $1.7 billion from oil and gas severance taxes for transportation
construction. Wisconsin and Maryland each passed measures by wide margins, around
80 percent, to establish dedicated transportation trust funds, and in
Wisconsin’s case to create a Department of Transportation. But, Massachusetts
passed a measure that would eliminate its state gas tax indexing to inflation.
Maine passed a series of bonds that will fund $31 million in construction of
new facilities for research facilities, laboratories, and clean water in
addition to $4 million in loans for small businesses.
also showed big successes with New York securing $2 billion in bonds for school
construction and New Mexico approving $141 million in higher education, special
schools, and tribal schools. Rhode Island passed $258 million in bonds for many
types of construction including higher education, cultural facilities, mass
transit, and clean water construction.
For more information, please contact Scott Berry at
(703) 837-5321 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mid-Term Elections Impact on Transportation Committees
The Senate flipping from Democrat to Republican control will
result in new chairmen for the four Senate committees with jurisdiction over
the surface transportation reauthorization, while the House will see some
changes to its committees with jurisdiction.
The current authorization was extended until May 31, 2015, which means
the new Congress needs to not only reauthorize the bill prior to May 31, but
also provide revenue into the Highway Trust Fund which is projected to run out
at some point in May or June.
First, Senator Jim
Inhofe (R-Okla.) will assume the chairmanship of the Environment and Public
Works (EPW) Committee from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) who will likely
remain the committee’s top Democrat.
Senators Inhofe and Boxer have a long history of bipartisan success in
working on previous highway bills, most recently passing the GROW Act out of
their committee by unanimous consent last Congress. Secondly, the Senate Banking Committee – with
jurisdiction over the federal transit programs – will be chaired by Senator
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) with the top Democrat spot likely being taken by
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Thirdly,
the Senate Commerce Committee Chairman will be John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill
Nelson (D-Fla.) will serve as the committee’s top Democrat. Lastly, and perhaps most important is the
Senate Finance Committee. The Finance
Committee is tasked with finding the approximately $100 billion in revenue
necessary to write a five year surface transportation reauthorization. The committee will now be led by Orrin Hatch
(R-Utah) while current Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will now serve as the
In the House, the Transportation & Infrastructure
Committee will continue to be chaired by Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.). However, there will be a change in leadership
on the Democrat side of the committee.
Ranking Member Nick Rahall (R-W.Va.) was defeated and his likely
successor as the committee’s top Democrat is Peter DeFazio of Oregon. The committee’s Highway and Transit
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) did not seek reelection and his spot
is speculated to be filled by Congressman Sam Graves(R-Mo.). In addition to the surface transportation
reauthorization, the committee agenda will likely include legislation
reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, Coast Guard, passenger rail
programs, and the Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Safety
Like the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means
Committee is tasked with the finance portion of the surface transportation
reauthorization. Current Chairman Dave
Camp (R-Mich.) is retiring, he will likely be replaced by Congressman Paul Ryan
(R-Wis.). As the Chairman of the House
Budget Committee, Ryan’s budgets called for limiting Highway Trust Fund
investments to the revenue brought in through the gas, diesel and related
fees. The Ryan Budgets would have
resulted in significant cuts to federal transportation programs.
AGC is committed to working with all members of Congress to
ensure that a top priority of the 114th Congress is to fix the Highway Trust
Fund and expeditiously authorize federal transportation programs.
For more information,
please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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AGC Joins Coalition Letter on Highlighting Concerns with Federal Contractor Executive Order
Following a meeting last month attended by AGC , U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas
E. Perez, Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy Council Cecilia
Muñoz, along with other administration
officials and stakeholders on President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order, AGC joined with
other national associations in a letter outlining our concerns with the
The EO purports to help federal agencies “identify and
work with contractors with track records of compliance” with labor laws in
order to “reduce execution delays and avoid distractions and complications that
arise from contracting with contractors with track records of noncompliance.”
It imposes several new obligations on federal contractors and contracting agencies,
increasing the burdens and risks for covered contractors. It does not cover
For more information,
please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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