While the dust continues to settle, the results of the November 2014 midterm elections will mean another dramatic power shift on Capitol Hill. Jewelers of America’ s legislative counsel, Haake & Associates, has compiled the following year-end roundup, which looks at the midterm election results and prospects for action during the current “lame-duck” session of Congress.
The elections resulted in an increased majority for Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and a Republican takeover in the Senate. With three races undecided in the House, the composition of the 114th Congress as of December 8, 2014, is as follows:
- House: 244 Republicans, 188 Democrats (3 races undecided) (Net + 12 seat GOP pickup in the House as of December 8, 2014)
- Senate: 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats, 2 Independents (both Independents caucus with the Democrats) (Net + 9 seat GOP pickup in the Senate as of December 8, 2014)
Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC), the only PAC that represents the fine jewelry industry in D.C., had tremendous success during the 2013-2014 election cycle. Nearly 100% of the candidates JAPAC supported (15 House candidates and 4 out of 5 Senate candidates) won their elections, including key legislators such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-6th), incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-1st), the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Senate and a long-time sales tax fairness champion Senator Richard Durbin (IL), and incoming Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jim Risch (ID).
Lame-Duck Session Legislative Outlook
Sales Tax Fairness Legislation
Although retail industry champions of sales tax fairness legislation, including Jewelers of America, are waging a campaign to push Congress to pass sales tax fairness legislation before the end of the year, it appears the fight will continue into the 114th Congress. While Republican and Democratic supporters in the Senate are intent on bringing sales tax fairness legislation to the floor for consideration during the final weeks of the 113th Congress, members of House GOP leadership are intent on waiting to consider the legislation until Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-3rd) introduces his compromise bill, which will not likely occur until early 2015.