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CEO DATELINE – Associations urge divided Congress to work together after elections

Nov. 7, 2018
By Walt Williams

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It was the best of times and it was worst of times for both parties on election night, with Democrats winning the U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans expanding their Senate majority. The split likely means two years of partisan gridlock in Congress, but in statements issued the morning after the elections, association leaders urged lawmakers to find areas where they could work together to enact meaningful policy.

The following statements have been edited for length:

Jay Timmons, CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
“We are living in a time of record optimism among manufacturers. That is in large part due to the significant progress we’ve made over the last two years to empower manufacturers with game-changing policy reforms. We will continue that progress with the new Congress. From infrastructure investment to regulatory relief, workforce development to trade policy, there’s plenty to be done, and we know it can be done with support from across the political spectrum.”

Richard Hunt, CEO, Consumer Bankers Association
“We look forward to working with both parties on common-sense, bipartisan legislative proposals and regulatory reform. Divided government can produce major accomplishments and many of CBA’s priorities, including the creation of a bipartisan commission at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, have received support from both sides of the aisle.”

Dan Berger, CEO, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions
“Credit unions will continue to have a strong seat at the table as we enjoy bipartisan support in Congress. Whether working with Republicans, Democrats or Independents, our goal is to achieve an appropriate regulatory environment that provides a tailored approach to regulation, a level playing field, and transparent and independent regulatory oversight for credit unions and the 114 million members they serve.”

Jim Nussle, CEO, Credit Union National Association
“Credit unions invested a record $7 million into this election to help continue the positive momentum we’ve seen for credit union priorities in Congress. We’re pleased that we’ll have many friendly faces in the next Congress, and we’ll be working hard from now until then to connect with new members and engage with returning members to advance credit union priorities.”

Rob Nichols, CEO, American Bankers Association
“The results may have produced a change in the balance of power in Congress, but they have not changed our agenda or our willingness to work with dedicated lawmakers from both parties to pursue common-sense economic and regulatory policies that allow banks to create jobs, growth and opportunity for all Americans.”

Abigail Ross Hopper, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association
“As evidenced again last night by several pro-solar candidates winning elections, voters want the government to do more to grow solar energy in the U.S. We look forward to working with all of the new and returning governors and Members of Congress on policies that will expand solar markets, grow jobs, and make solar’s economic benefits available to more consumers and businesses.”

Dennis Slater, president, Association of Equipment Manufacturers
“After a midterm election that saw record turnout and interest, there’s now a renewed opportunity for President Trump and Congress to work across party lines to tackle the issues that will help grow our economy and keep our nation strong. Modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, promoting free and fair trade, and supporting a strong agriculture economy should all be bipartisan priorities for the 116th Congress.”

Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“Divided government does not—and cannot—mean gridlock. We urge each and every leader to find the middle ground on issues including immigration, infrastructure, and trade. Now is the time for our elected leaders to train their focus on what can be achieved to keep up America’s economic momentum. There is much to do and no time to waste.”

Chip Kahn, CEO, Federation of American Hospitals
“Once again health care was a clear game changer. Concerns about losing pre-existing conditions protections and the availability of affordable health coverage moved American voters. There is a real desire for a ‘let’s fix it’ approach to ensuring consumer protections and access to quality care. Now is the time to focus on the commonsense health care solutions people supported at the ballot box.”

Matt Haller, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, International Franchise Association
“This was a critical election and, in an era when taxes, health care reform and workforce issues continue to impact the bottom line of franchise small businesses, it is imperative that franchising’s voice is heard as a new Congress takes the lead on significant policy issues.”

Juanita Duggan, CEO, National Federation of Independent Business
“Yesterday, voters made their voices heard. The 115th Congress achieved substantial progress for small businesses by removing burdensome regulations and making small business tax relief a reality. The next Congress must continue this progress, including protecting the tax cuts that have made a significant difference for millions of small businesses across the country. We look forward to welcoming the 116th Congress and continuing to work together to advance policies that allow our nation’s small businesses to remain strong.”