Last Tuesday’s mid-term election brought mixed messages for the House and Senate. Beyond the majority leadership change in the House, it is likely that many of the same challenges facing the current 115th Congress will persist in the 116th starting in January.
The Democrats were victorious in claiming the majority leadership in the House by a narrow margin. That will mean they will need to maintain caucus cohesion in order to pass bills, as a small group of defectors can doom a bill. This challenge caused headaches for the Republicans in the House and resulted in both of the last two Farm Bills initially failing on the floor before being resurrected.
“For the House Agriculture Committee, incoming Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) is a very steady hand that provides a lot of reassurance to our industry and agriculture broadly,” said John Keeling, NPC CEO. Congressman Peterson is one of a handful of former chairmen returning to their posts. Most House committees will see entirely new leadership, including Ways and Means, Judiciary and Appropriations.
“The Republicans are obviously pleased that they have expanded their margins in the Senate. After the recounts and runoffs are over, we will know how many seats were gained but certainly they are fewer than the 60 votes needed for outright control,” said Kam Quarles, V.P. of Public Policy for NPC.