January 2014

A grim outlook | Capitol Hill

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A grim outlook

Increased regulatory pressure is likely if the current situation continues

by Duane L. Musser
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Recently, the roofing industry has been subjected to a significant increase in regulatory activity by the federal government. Given current events in Washington, D.C., this trend appears likely to accelerate in the years ahead.

Easier nominations

In November 2013, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used the so-called "nuclear option" to pave the way for Senate confirmation of some of President Obama's nominations to judicial and executive branch positions. The Senate voted 52-48 (with three Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition) to change its rules to essentially eliminate the option to filibuster all presidential nominations except Supreme Court nominations. The filibuster is a procedural tactic used by senators to delay or block a vote on most legislation and nominations.

The change means obtaining Senate confirmation for most presidential nominations will now, for the first time in U.S. history, require a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the 60 previously needed to cut off a potential filibuster. Senators have long used the filibuster to delay votes on presidential nominations for months and, in some cases, to derail nominations. The previous rule requiring 60 votes for confirmation of nominees served as an important check on the power of the majority under our...

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