Updated 29 November 2018.
The movement of government offers clues to the way business will unfold, as new lawmakers enter and others depart. With the recent elections in the United States, we want to provide you with an understanding of the impact such changes could have on mobility.
On November 6, midterm elections (which occur halfway between presidential elections for open Congressional seats) were held, resulting in Democrats taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans expanding their majority in the United States Senate to 53-47. Democrats gained a net of 40 seats in the House.
Democrats taking control of the House significantly shifts the political dynamic in Washington, D.C. for the next two years. Beginning in January, we will see proposals with the progressive tilt of the new House Democratic majority. This will also change the negotiations with the Senate as the more centrist chamber: from one where the Senate would take a more moderate stance than the House to one ensuring conservative principles are included.
With the shift in power in the House, we are likely to see several initiatives by Democrats that will impact workforce mobility. Key House Democrats have stated their desire to move legislation addressing immigration reform in the 116th Congress. The timing and details of such a package have yet to be determined, but could include business immigration provisions to gain support among some Republicans. Democrats are likely to use the legislative and oversight process to push back on the President on the imposition of tariffs and his trade policy. This could potentially place support and approval of the renegotiation of NAFTA and other trade deals in question.
We could also see tax policy and data privacy as issues next year. In 2019, Americans will file their first tax returns since passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. With House Democratic oversight of the implementation of tax reform, any efforts by the White House to make the temporary individual 2017 tax cuts and other changes - including the elimination of the moving deduction - permanent will be unlikely without major concessions to Democrats. And one area of interest to mobility in the next Congress where we could see bipartisanship is on legislation to address personal data privacy.
To implement his agenda with a Democratic House, the President will likely increase his use of executive orders and regulations which will continue to be met with legal challenges. However, the key area where Senate Republicans gaining additional Senate seats will be beneficial is in the confirmation of judicial and Administration nominations. Such a shift increases the chances for the President that the courts will not block his initiatives because they share his judicial philosophy regarding the powers of the Presidency. For instance, we could see more executive orders on immigration policy changes following the restrictions on entry of foreign nationals from select countries entering the U.S.
For the remainder of 2018, Congress will address the continuation of funding for several federal agencies, as well as several other initiatives, possibly including tax extenders. While Republicans will still control the House during these negotiations, the tone of the dialogue will be a good indication as to what we can expect for the next Congress.
Providing you with the information you need to plan effectively for mobility is our top priority. We will continue to keep you apprised of any additional changes to the U.S. governmental landscape that have the potential to impact our industry. In the meantime, we'll continue the conversation in the Worldwide ERC® Community, so please visit our Government Affairs Regulatory and Compliance group to exchange information with mobility professionals and government relations experts.
Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS-T President and CEO Worldwide ERC®