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2012 Election Report (conclusion)

What it Means to Agents

President Obama and the newly elected Congress will directly impact all current and future legislation important to agents. The delicate relationship between the split leadership on Capitol Hill and President Obama is going to determine the fate of issues like insurance or business regulation, implementation of the ACA, crop insurance reform and improvements to the tax code.

Over the next few years, issues of regulation will be addressed, especially with the anticipated release of two studies on state regulation of insurance. The results from these studies will be given to the new Federal Insurance Office (FIO) and Congress. From there, Congress could decide to move forward with legislation that would give more regulatory power to the Federal Government, or they may choose not to act, finding that current state-based regulation is sufficient.

Protecting the Affordable Care Act will be on the top of the list for President Obama. States that have dragged their feet with the implementation may force the timeline to be altered, but only time will tell. Republican leadership in the House will not have any viable options to get a full repeal passed, since any repeal legislation will die in the Senate before it even makes it to the President, who would veto the bill without hesitation. The next option for Republicans in the House would be to craft more legislation repealing only parts of the bill, similar to the Medical Loss Ratio legislation. This, too, presents the challenge of garnering enough support in the Democratic Senate for it to pass.

There are two possible paths for the Farm Bill, which makes reforms to the federal crop insurance program. The first would be passage during the lame duck session, and the second would be postponing work until the start of the 113th Congress. A Farm Bill during the lame duck session could be a 5 year reauthorization, or only a one year extension.

The last issue to watch closely is the hot topic of tax reform, especially with the looming expiration deadline for the Bush tax cuts and end of Obama’s payroll tax cut. President Obama would like to see the cuts expire in the hope that it would force Republicans to the table to negotiate his plan to raise taxes. The expiration of the tax cuts, in addition to the threat of sequestration with its severe cut in the defense budget, are key to the President’s plan for getting Republicans to agree to pass his plans for tax hikes. However, the Republican leadership has made it clear that they will not allow any tax increase and will not budge on the issue. But this could change.

On January 3rd the 113th Congress will be sworn in followed by the President’s Inauguration on January 20th. Our newly elected officials will then begin to work on important legislation regarding health care, taxes, and regulation that is sure to have a direct impact on you and your livelihood.

While Republicans held onto their majority in the House, neither party holds a 60-vote “super-majority” in the Senate. This could lead to more Washington gridlock. We encourage Congress to avert a stalemate by finding bipartisan solutions to put our economy back on track.

The results of this election vividly illustrate the importance of involvement in the political process on the part of the members of PIA. While there may be much disappointment with many of the results, it is important to note that the contacts that PIA members and the national PIA lobbying staff have built on Capitol Hill will serve us well in what may be difficult days ahead regarding our issues.

PIA National’s year-round grassroots efforts and Action Alerts keep all of us plugged in to the legislative process as legislation is being developed and considered. Our in-person Federal Legislative Summit (FLS) in Washington, DC during April and District Lobbying Day (DLD) in August held throughout the country are focal points for the relationship-building with Members of Congress that is critical to our success in averting legislation that could harm our businesses.

It is imperative that PIA members are actively communicating their concerns with their elected officials, constantly. PIA National’s lobbying of Congress is an important line of defense that serves to protect our agencies.

(The U.S. House of Representatives) Page 3 <<

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