Special Report: NSPE’s Post-Election Snapshot

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The morning after the midterm election, one fact is certain: Republicans had a huge night. As some races have still not yet been called, we don't quite have the full picture. However, with the GOP reclaiming the Senate by a wider-than-expected margin, picking up over a dozen seats in the House and making sweeping gains in gubernatorial races and state legislatures, the political landscape is markedly different than it was yesterday. Simply put, this election ended up being a blowout at both the federal and state levels and there will be major repercussions.

NSPE-PAC had a remarkably successful evening, with ALL of its candidates winning election, either as an incumbent or a new member. Consistent with its bipartisan philosophy, NSPE-PAC supported champions of engineering on both sides of the aisle. Sixty percent of NSPE-PAC donations went to Democratic candidates and 40% went to Republican candidates, while just over half of total contribution dollars went to Republican candidates. Candidates were supported based on their track record as an advocate of the PE community. Thank you to all NSPE-PAC contributors, who made this possible!

With the dust still settling, there are almost as many questions as there are answers. The one certainty is that both chambers of Congress will experience major changes, especially in the Senate. The new Senate Majority Leader come January, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has clearly stated that energy-related topics will be a top priority. With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the appropriations process will once again likely change. Committees of interest to NSPE, with jurisdiction over energy, procurement, and infrastructure issues, will undergo fundamental change. For example, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) takes the reins over from his ideological opposite Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on the Senate committee responsible for overseeing major infrastructure authorizations that need to be completed in 2015.

After more than five years without movement, the Keystone pipeline has a filibuster-proof majority. Expect this legislation to be one of the first agenda items in the 114th Congress. Expect major efforts from the GOP to stall and reverse the slew of recent EPA regulations. This could have potentially positive impacts for PEs, particularly reduced compliance requirements. At the same time, NSPE needs to be vigilant about loosened requirements that could weaken regulations requiring professional engineers to perform certain services. NSPE will vigorously oppose any such efforts. NSPE will be providing further updates as issues arise. Any questions should be sent to NSPE Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser at aeiser@nspe.org.