Capitol Hill

Preparing for the new Congress

As this issue goes to press, the Nov. 7 general election has not yet been held, but NRCA's Washington, D.C., office is prepared to make course corrections to roofing industry issues—regardless of which party controls the 110th Congress. If Democrats take majority control of the House of Representatives and/or Senate, there will be a philosophical shift on Capitol Hill with regard to most business-related issues.

For example, committees of jurisdiction for Small Business Health Plan (SBHP) legislation are the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee and House Education and Workforce Committee. The current chairman of the HELP committee is Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), who has a 92 percent lifetime voting record with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. If Democrats take control, the HELP chairman would be Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who has a 22 percent chamber record. In the House, the current chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee is Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), who has a 96 percent record with the chamber, and the chairman-in-waiting, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), has a 22 percent chamber rating.

A shift of control in either committee temporarily would halt progress for SBHP legislation because neither potential Democrat chairman supports SBHPs.

Also, these committees have jurisdiction over the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and new chairmen likely would bring more adversarial OSHA oversight and a push for more aggressive enforcement policy.

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