Based on current results, the GOP will hold at a minimum (with three races still to be officially called) a 52-seat majority in the Senate when the 114th Congress is seated in January 2015. The majority could grow over the coming weeks. Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan leads incumbent Democrat Mark Begich. Current Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu will face a runoff in December against Republican challenger Bill Cassidy-both failed to secure a 50 percent majority in the primary. In addition, Virginia Senate incumbent Mark Warner (D) holds a slim, yet steady margin, over former Republican National Committee head Ed Gillespie. In January, Republicans may actually hold a 54-seat majority in the Senate.
The GOP successfully picked up Senate seats, currently held by Democrats, in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. They also retained seats in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky.
In the House of Representatives, as predicted, Republicans solidified their position by adding 12 seats to their current majority, so far. The makeup of the chamber will stand at 243-180, with a dozen races still to be officially declared.
It is anticipated that Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) will assert his seniority and move into the Chairmanship of the Banking Committee, next year. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is expected to assume the Ranking Minority Member position.
Shelby is expected to target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for reforms, but it is unrealistic to expect that any measure that entirely repeals the Dodd-Frank Act will move. However, many are predicting Congress will enact targeted regulatory relief provisions. In addition, Shelby has historically been critical of large banks and has worked, in the past, with Democrats to shrink bank sizes and limit their operations.
Longtime industry supporter Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) is expected to become Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Cochran has supported past industry efforts to install a dedicated administrator for the manufactured housing program at HUD and ensure that DOE consulted with industry in establishing energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing.
On the House side, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is expected to remain as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. However, there will be jockeying among Republicans for Subcommittee Chairmanships. In particular, with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) winning election to the Senate there will be a vacancy atop the Financial Institutions Subcommittee-which has jurisdiction over CFPB issues.
Congress is set to return to Washington, DC on November 12 for a lame-duck session. However, many expect that it will be an abbreviated session and only long enough to allow Congress to consider the fiscal year 2015 spending bills and tax extenders. Republicans may choose to bide their time, and new majority firepower, until next year when it is expected a number of key Obama administration policy victories will be reopened to Republican legislative scrutiny including Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Acts.
MHI is urging Congress to move key industry policy priorities during the lame-duck session. Industry stakeholders are asked to contact their Members of Congress on the following issues:
New Energy Efficient Home Credit (IRC 45L) - Click here to take action.
Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (H.R. 1779/S.1828) - Click here to take action. ##