Election Results: NEHA In-Depth Analysis

Donald J. Trump will become the 45th President of the United States. The 2016 election has been one that has defied all conventional wisdom and broken virtually every political norm that has governed all previous elections.

Insiders from both parties spent months preparing for Hillary Clinton to win the White House and the democrats to take control of the Senate, and they got it completely wrong.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beat Mr. Trump in the popular vote, but the Electoral College map did not go in her favor. Interestingly, after the 2000 election with a similar outcome for Vice President Al Gore, then Senator-elect Clinton spoke about getting rid of the Electoral College.

In the end, with Mr. Trump taking the presidency, and republicans losing a few seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives but maintaining their control of both chambers of Congress, shock and awe seems to be the prevalent attitude in Washington, D.C.

As for what to expect legislatively, if President-elect Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan can work out their differences, the Speaker may be able to take advantage of the opportunity to implement his lengthy policy platform, “A Better Way.”

The President-elect has indicated he is willing to defer much of the policymaking to Congress, and thus Ryan may be given the ability to pass several his long-desired reforms, such as efforts to simplify the tax code and cut down on business regulations.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come out of this election stronger than ever, as he maintains control over the Senate despite losing two seats in Illinois and New Hampshire.

McConnell did a far better job of supporting a Trump candidacy than Ryan, and thus likely stands to have much more pull in prioritizing his policy goals with the Trump White House.

Of importance to McConnell, however, will be building a relationship with new Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the 48 democratic Senators who still maintain the ability to block many republican policy efforts with the threat of a filibuster.

Before all of this happens, we still have the remaining days of the Obama Administration. Here’s what the latest inside-baseball information is on Friday, November 11th…Remember, things change quickly in D.C., so this is only accurate for now…

  • The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which contains funding for Flint and additional funding for NCEH’s lead program and establishes the lead registry, is no longer viable. While it is true the legislation has passed both the House and Senate, the differences are great and now the powers that be are saying they are going to put this legislation off till the next Congress to give President-elect Trump an early victory.
  • The budget needs to be passed or another continuing resolution needs to be enacted by December 9, 2016. Before the election, there was a lot of talk about an omnibus (all appropriation bills in one bill) or a minibus (a couple of spending bills and a continuing resolution for the rest) bill getting done by the end of the year. Now it seems that House of Representatives members are calling for a continuing resolution to allow for President-elect Trump to weigh in on the budget.
  • Emergency Spending Legislation. While Congress seems to be punting on both WRDA and the budget, they do seem to be interested in providing funding to Louisiana for flooding, North Carolina hurricane rebuilding and Flint. Stay tuned for what this will look like.

Please know that while the game has changed due to the new President-elect, our goals remain the same — to promote, invest and improve the Environmental health profession and the environmental health of the country.  We will continue to do this work for you each and every day.

Thank you for all that you do each day to keep us safe every day.

Joanne Zurcher
Director of Government Affairs