Republicans Gain Senate Control, Pick Up House Seats in Midterm Election

In what is being declared a “Republican wave,” GOP candidates swept key congressional races on November 4 to take control of the United States Senate and gain an additional 13 seats in the House of Representatives.
The Republican Party picked up seven previously Democratic-held Senate seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, with votes still being counted in the race for Alaska’s Senate seat (currently occupied by Democratic incumbent Mark Begich), which leans in favor of Republican challenger Dan Sullivan. Virginia’s Senate race, too, remains undecided with Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Warner and Republican hopeful Ed Gillespie within 0.77 percent of each other in registered votes. Louisiana’s Senate race will head to a runoff in December, with neither Democratic incumbent nor Republican challenger pulling in the necessary 50 percent required by state law to secure the win this week.
When legislators return to DC next week for a Lame Duck session, they will need to tackle several outstanding issues remaining on Congress’ plate that are of interest to IEC members. The House and Senate will both need to act to ensure continued federal funding as a short-term continuing resolution extending current levels through December 11 is soon to expire. Senate Republicans have indicated their preference for passing an omnibus spending measure or a longer-term continuing resolution that runs through the end of next fiscal year in September. Also on the table is an extension of the long-expired “tax extenders” package of pro-business tax breaks that lapsed in December 2013. These include the Section 179D deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, Section 179 qualified investment expensing and bonus depreciation provisions that some IEC members rely on. Congress may also consider a reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which has received bipartisan support but has failed to move forward.