Updated: Nov. 17, 2022
Republicans Capture House Majority; Democrats Keep Control of Senate
With Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives with a slim majority and Democrats retaining their majority in the Senate, a divided federal government is in store in January. Bipartisan compromise will be necessary for any successful legislative efforts in the next two years, which will be even more difficult given expected fervent House Republican oversight of the administration. The ability of electric cooperatives to effectively advocate on both sides of the aisle remains imperative for success in this political environment.
Republicans in the House will focus their initial efforts on countering inflation, increasing domestic energy production, enacting permitting reform, and intensifying oversight of the Biden administration. The GOP claimed momentum on energy issues leading up to the election and is preparing a series of measures that could include an opportunity to enact NRECA energy permitting priorities.
Our Engagement Approach
NRECA will continue to define our congressional outreach on themes such as electric reliability and community building as we work in a nonpartisan way to move legislation that shapes brighter futures for American families and businesses. Our early advocacy efforts will focus on meeting and briefing this large group of new legislators on our core issues. Our goal is to work with our membership to provide all new members of Congress a Co-op 101 orientation by March.
Both Republicans and Democrats will meet in the coming weeks to elect their new leaders. Electric cooperatives have built strong relationships with incoming chairs of key congressional committees, including Rep. “G.T." Thompson, R-Pa., on the Agriculture Committee and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Setting the Stage for NRECA Priority IssuesEnergy and Environment:
Expect hearings in which Republicans will ask tough questions about Biden administration regulatory actions and include opportunities for NRECA to press for meaningful reform to permitting and siting electric generation and transmission infrastructure. There could be an opportunity to consider bipartisan energy legislation if it takes a technology neutral approach. Legislation imposing carbon emission mandates or carbon taxes is extremely unlikely in the next two years, but we cannot rule out the possibility of significant administration actions during that time.Farm Bill:
With the current law set to expire in 2023, the Agriculture committees face the complicated task of writing a new bill. Our top priorities in Farm Bill discussions will be to shape changes to USDA broadband programs, defend against attempts to eliminate the $9.7 billion voluntary clean energy fund created for co-ops in the budget reconciliation bill, and allow electric cooperatives to refinance RUS debt without penalty.Broadband:
Incentivizing rural broadband remains a bipartisan priority. Republicans have a new opportunity to influence implementation of recently established, well-funded broadband programs. Leaders from both parties will be closely watching the FCC's update of broadband service maps as inaccuracies in the mapping will impact future broadband funding.