TIA Says 'Split Congress' Is Likely Next Year
In a legislative update sent out today, the Tire Industry Association (TIA) said it believes "we will still be working with a split Congress" following the Jan. 5 run-off election in Georgia. TIA officials also shared further thoughts on issues the incoming Biden Administration will tackle. (TIA CEO Roy Littlefield shared his initial thoughts with MTD Editor Mike Manges last week.)
"As of now, it appears that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be our next president and vice president," TIA wrote today. "Of course, this will have significant implications, regardless of whether or not the Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
"We expect to see the new Biden Administration take swift action to reassess and repeal many of the Trump Administration’s regulations and executive orders. From the ever-important tax area, despite President-Elect Biden having said during the campaign that he would roll back the Trump tax reform act right away, most observers believe that he will first tackle the COVID pandemic and the economic crisis before turning to tax changes. Thus, many believe we will not see any tax bill until 2022. We will be monitoring this situation closely and if it appears tax changes are coming, we will alert you right away.
"There was extensive prognosticating leading up to the election about whether the Republicans would be able to hold on to their majority in the Senate. While the Democrats did net one seat, it seems likely that the Republican majority will hold. However, this will depend on the outcome of the races for the two Georgia Senate seats, which both still appear to be headed to a runoff on January 5, 2021.
"If the Democrats were to prevail in both races (which is unlikely), this would make for an even split with the vice president serving as the tie breaker, which would mean a Democrat controlled Senate. The reason why it is unlikely that both Georgia seats will go to the Democrats is that the race with Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler was basically a three-way race, with two Republicans and one Democrat.
"The feeling is that in the two candidate run-offs between Senator Loeffler (who netted approximately 26% of the vote) and Democrat Raphael Warnock (who won approximately 33% of the vote), Senator Loeffler will win since the Republican/conservative vote isn’t being divided.
"In the race between Republican Senator David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, Perdue won, but did not garner 50% of the vote so under Georgia law, the race will also go to a run-off on January 5.
"Thus, with the Democrats retaining control of the House, though with a few less seat than previously, we expect that we will still be working with a split Congress. With the highly charged election behind us and both parties hopefully having learned some lessons from the process, we are optimistic that this will provide an opening for movement on some bi-partisan measures that the TIA has been supporting.
"Of course, the first big question that most Washington observers will be raising is when will Congress attempt to negotiate another COVID stimulus package. After the pre-election negotiations that were being conducted largely between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin fell apart, there was broad speculation about the impact that the presidential election would have on the possibility for progress in the lame duck session – which has only amplified since.
"Given the ever increasing pressure being generated by the spike in coronavirus cases across the country, we remain hopeful and will continue to advocate for prompt relief for the many small businesses that continue to face serious challenges. The general wisdom has been that it might be hard for the parties to reach a deal during the lame duck session – particularly with the Democrats looking ahead to a Democrat president and an open question about the control of the Senate.
"However, there are some indications that President-Elect Biden, who has already stated that he plans to push Congress to pass a comprehensive relief bill for him to sign during his first weeks in office, may have a hand working with his former Senate colleague Mitch McConnell to broker a deal (or at least make headway towards that end) during the lame duck."