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How Will the 2014 Elections Affect Your Business? TIA Analyzes the Results of the 2014 Elections on our Industry

TIA Innovation Agenda POST-Election Map

TIA's Government Affairs staff have made it easy for you to translate the 2014 election results into reality for our industry.

Republicans won the Senate by two seats. Key wins include Gardner (R-Colorado) over incumbent Udall; Tillis (R-NC) over incumbent Hagan; and Cotton (R-Arkansas) over incumbent Pryor. McConnell retained his seat, ascending to majority leader. We're still watching the race in Virginia between incumbent and tech-friendly Warner and Gillespie, and also of course the runoff in Louisiana between incumbent Landrieu and Cassidy on December 6.

Republicans have strengthened their majority in the House. There was not sweeping movement among key or committee leadership positions in the House, except the loss of Rep. Terry (R-Nebraska) who Chairs the Energy & Commerce Committee's Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, which will go to Rep. Burgess (R-Texas).

Most of the pre-election analysis below remains true. Please, however, note any changes with regard to committee leadership positions based on the election outcomes. Congress has returned to deal with must-pass legislation during the lame duck, which will include an expiring continuing resolution to keep the government funded. The 114th Congress will convene on January 5, 2015.

The possibility of a shift in Senate control to Republicans, while maintaining a Republican House could lead to movement on several pieces of legislation, with questionable chances of final passage, and further threat of a veto by the U.S. President.

Therefore, regardless of a change in control over the Senate, the most promising legislative initiatives will be those that receive bi-partisan support – most controversial bills will have difficulty getting past the Senate floor since they require 60+ votes/cloture, with the exception of bills such as Appropriations that only require a 50+ vote, but then risk veto.

Before the new Congress comes in, during the lame duck, must-pass legislation includes the CR that expires December 11 to continue funding the government through an extension that could bring us through a few months all the way through Sept 30, 2015, until FY16 can be addressed.

In addition to the overall makeup of each chamber that will have an impact of legislative priorities, please find below a more granular analysis of seats that may impact certain TIA issues.

Pelosi, Boehner, and Reid, have all vowed to stay and hold the top spots – whether majority or minority – and McConnell's race is questionable, so the top seat in the Senate, if flipped, could be up in the air. Since possible runoffs could bring us into December (Louisiana), or even January (Georgia), we may have to wait to determine which party controls the Senate.

General, Tech Issues

Senate Commerce   House Commerce  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Thune (R-AL) Rockefeller (D-WV) (retiring) Upton (R-MI) Pallone (D-NJ)
  Boxer (D-CA) (Chair EPW)   Eshoo (D-CA)
  Nelson (D-FL)    

Senate: If Democrats maintain leadership of the Senate, with the retirement of Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) either Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) or Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) would hold the top spot on the Committee. *Although most senior, Senator Boxer is already Chair of the Environment & Public Works Committee, which she would have to give up. While Senator Boxer can be expected to be a strong supporter of a more activist FCC approach to net neutrality, Senator Nelson has been less engaged on the issue.

If the Senate indeed flips, Senator John Thune (R-SD) is in line to become Senate Commerce Committee Chairman. As the current Ranking Member, Thune has been an outspoken opponent of the FCC on Open Internet, questioning its legal authority and criticizing the Commission on policy grounds. He has previously taken a fairly assertive tone toward the FCC and Chairman Wheeler, specifically.

House: The House Energy & Commerce Committee has already undertaken an effort towards rewriting the 1996 Telecom Act. Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Subcommittee Chairman Walden (R-OR) have been leading the charge and will likely also bring before the Committee pending mergers, net neutrality (to the extent it hasn't been wrapped up in courts), and more.

With the retirement of Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) is a strong contender against Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) who is next in line. Rep. Eshoo has led the spectrum debate with Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and is a vocal champion for Silicon Valley issues, likely impacting the debate of a Telecom Act rewrite as described above.

Broadband, Spectrum, E-Rate, Universal Service, Public Safety

Senate Tech Subcommittee   House Tech Subcommittee  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Wicker (R-MS) Pryor (D-AK) (currently trailing in the polls) Walden (R-OR) Eshoo (D-CA)
  Boxer (D-CA) (ineligible as “A” chairman)   Doyle (D-PA)
  Nelson (D-FL) (may be full committee chair)    
  Cantwell (D-WA) (may keep Aviation Subcom?)    
  McCaskill (D-MO)    

Senate: On the Democratic side, current chair Senator Pryor (D-AR) is facing a tough re-election fight, and could be replaced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) or Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Other Senators with leadership positions or strong interests in spectrum and wireless issues (Thune, Wicker, Rubio, Klobuchar, etc.) are expected to remain in place. Senator Pryor has not paid much attention to spectrum policy issues. Both he and Senator Rockefeller have focused on rural broadband issues, among others. There may be a void on rural issues with the retirement of Senator Rockefeller, which include issues affecting broadband build-out and access, municipal broadband deployment, interconnection, USF / CAF oversight, and more.

Senator Wicker, who will either Chair or be Ranking for the Subcommittee, has expressed interest in gaining access to technologies and facilitating interoperability so that the rural states, such as Mississippi, has the latest and greatest devices and services (see interoperability in the 700MHz request). Changes in committee leadership could result in a re-invigoration of Senate discussions on spectrum policy, and telecom issues more generally which have been quiet in Senate during the current Congress except for STELA.

House: Most key players in the House on spectrum legislation (Walden, Eshoo, Matsui, Latta, etc.) will remain in place after the election, other than potentially Rep. Eshoo getting a promotion to leave Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) as possible Subcommittee Ranking Member. Rep. Matsui, who is interested in spectrum policy issues, could also move up in seniority.

The Telecom Act Re-Write project is expected to continue next year among House Republicans, including on spectrum issues. Chairman Walden has consistently expressed interest in the Telecom Act, spectrum availability (including receiver standards), among other top issues for the industry, and oversight of the Commission will continue through hearings, etc.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) faces an especially stiff reelection challenge; he won by 10 points in 2006, four in 2008, and just two in 2012. This year he faces both a credible opponent in the Democratic opponent and an independent challenger waging a campaign to Terry's right. As Chair of the Manufacturing Subcommittee, Terry has been very involved with rural telecommunications issues.

Several other E&C Communications and Technology Subcommittee members come from rural districts, such as Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), although now leadership, and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) who might fill a leadership vacuum on the issue.

Global Cybersecurity & Privacy

Senate Intel   House Intel  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Chambliss (R-GA) (retiring) Feinstein (D-CA) Rogers (R-MI) (retiring) Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Burr (R-NC)   Thornberry (R-TX) (likely armed services chair)  
    King (R-NY) –OR—  
    Nunes (R-CA) –OR—  
    Miller (R-FL) (current VA Chair) –OR—  
    Conway (R-TX) (current Ethics Chair) –OR—  
    Pompeo (R-KS)  
Senate Homeland Security   House Homeland Security  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Coburn (R-OK) Carper (D-DE) McCaul (R-TX) Thompson (D-MS)
Johnson (R-WI)      

Senate: On Intelligence, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) would be expected to remain chairwoman while Senator Chambliss (R-GA) is retiring and may be replaced by Senator Burr (R-NC) as ranking member. On Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) will remain as chairman if Democrats retain the Senate, while Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is retiring and may be replaced by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

No major changes in cyber policy. The Obama Administration has indicated its willingness to move bills piecemeal, so it's more likely that cyber legislation may actually advance next year. Some bills (like CISA) have strong bipartisan support at the committee level, but the pushback continue to be concerns over privacy, especially after the NSA allegations.

House: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) is retiring, leaving the Ranking seat open on House Intel. Speaker Boehner appoints the Intel members personally, and is expected to name someone who shares Rogers' strong concern regarding cyber-espionage issues. Contenders include Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Jeff Miller (R-FL), and Mike Pompeo (R-KS). Mac Thornberry is actually next in line but is expected to get Armed Services.

The House has passed several bipartisan cyber bills including CISPA (Rogers / Ruppersberger) and the critical infrastructure piece is still being handled by House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). One or more of these bills may actually pass in the next Congress, now that the White House has accepted a piecemeal approach.

Market Access and Trade

Senate Finance   House Ways & Means  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Hatch (R-UT) Wyden (D-OR) Brady (R-TX) Levin (D-MI)

Senate: In the Senate Finance Committee, the leadership positions are stable. Chairman Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Hatch (R-UT) are not up for reelection. However, the potential switch to a Republican majority in the Senate could change the leadership roles for the Chairman and Ranking Member, with the assumption that Hatch is not aiming for a different committee chairmanship.

With Republicans being considered more "pro-trade", a change in the majority would increase likelihood for passage of trade-related legislation. The major trade legislation is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). If the Senate retains a Democratic majority, expect Chairman Wyden to continue his consultation process with Members and drafting new TPA legislation with a greater focus on strong provisions on negotiating transparency, labor, and environment.

If the Senate changes to a Republican majority and Ranking Member Hatch assumes the chairmanship, expect the existing Baucus-Hatch-Camp TPA legislation (S.1900 / H.R.3830) to gain traction. However, it will likely require additional provisions on democratic priorities to move forward (e.g. transparency and stronger standards on environment and labor provisions). The likelihood of TPA passage in the lame duck session of Congress is very small, so TPA passage will have to wait until 2015.

House: In the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Chairmanship is in flux with current Chairman David Camp (R-MI) not running for reelection. Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) will retain his position. The chairmanship will likely go to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). It is likely that Rep. Brady would want to put his own stamp on TPA legislation, and there will be a need to build democratic support through stronger provisions on democratic priorities. Rep. Levin will likely require even stronger provisions on democratic priorities, including a stronger role for Congress in development and oversight of trade agreements.

Green ICT and Smart Grid

Senate Energy
& Natural Resources
  House Subcommittee
on Energy & Power
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Murkowski (R-AK) Landrieu (D-LA) (close race) Whitfield (R-KY) Rush (D-IL)
  Wyden (chairs Finance) (D-OR)    
  T. Johnson (D-SD) (retiring)    
  Cantwell (D-WA)    

Senate: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), currently Ranking Member, is next in line to chair the Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, which she will do if Republicans take control of the Senate. If Republicans do not take control, her term as Ranking Member will expire, and she will be required to step down, which would be a huge loss for an Alaska Republican.

Senator and Committee Chair Mary Landrieu is currently running a close election against Rep. Bill Cassidy, which could go till December. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is a probable successor if Senator Landrieu loses.

Energy policy reform has been a top of the line campaign issue for many Senate races and will be high on the Senate's agenda if Republicans take control, with Republicans working with red state Democrats on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, natural gas permitting reform, and pushing back against Administration action on climate change regulations. The majority either way will be slim enough to avoid any major shifts.

In terms of energy legislation relevant to the ICT industry, Republican control increases the possibility that the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill gets out of its current gridlock by giving Republican Senators other vehicles to push forward votes on non-energy related legislation. It also increases the likelihood that final energy legislation would track more closely with the House Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which passed the House 375 to 36 in March of this year. Republican Senate control could also negatively impact federal funding generally for green technology in the future, however most campaign criticism has been directed at funding for wind, solar, etc., and not smart technologies specifically.

House: On the House side, we are unlikely to see any significant changes in leadership of the relevant committees. In the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power, Chairman Whitfield (R-KY) is also safe and likely to stay in the same leadership position after the election.

Health IT

Senate HELP   House Health Subcommittee  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Alexander (R-TN) Harkin (D-IA) (retiring) Pitts (R-PA) Pallone (D-PA) (although running for Full Comm.)
  Mikulski (D-MD) (Chair of Appropriations)   Engel (D-NY)
  Murray (D-WA) (will give up Budget to take Help)    

Senate: The HELP Committee could change hands as well. With Republicans in control, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) would likely become Chairman and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) would likely become Ranking Member of the HELP Committee, which has jurisdiction over most agencies within HHS. They both seem to be generally favorable to telehealth/health IT.

Regarding the SOFTWARE/PROTECT Acts, which would limit the FDA's authority in regulating certain clinical and health software, a switch to the Republicans would possibly give the bills greater chance. The House bill (H.R. 3303, the SOFTWARE Act) has strong bipartisan support, while the Senate bill (S. 2007, the PROTECT Act), doesn't have quite the same momentum behind it yet due to other Senate priorities. This could be seen as an area of bipartisan agreement and a potential easy win. The Senate bill (PROTECT Act) was referred to the HELP Committee, and back in March, Senator Alexander joined five other Senators in a letter to the FDA asking about regulation of mobile medical apps, and could be a sign that he'd support an effort to clarify FDA authority.

Senate Finance has jurisdiction over Medicare, implicating SGR reform (doc dix) and telehealth reimbursements – as mentioned above, Senator Hatch would likely become Chairman and Senator Ron Wyden would likely become Ranking Member of the Finance Committee. Senator Hatch hasn't been as vocal in support of telehealth as Senator Wyden, but he likely won't prevent the process from moving forward.

House: Currently, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is Ranking of Health Subcommittee and has demonstrated leadership on health IT. If Rep. Pallone obtains full Committee Ranking over Eshoo, Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) would succeed Pallone. If Rep. Pallone wins full Committee ranking, it could actually signal greater emphasis placed on health issues, especially given that Chairman Upton is leading the 21st Century Cures initiative.

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Senate Finance   House T&I  
Republican Democrat Republican Democrat
Vitter (R-LA) Boxer (D-CA) Shuster (R-PA) Rahall (D-WV)

Senate: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Environment and Public Works Chairwoman, is not up for reelection this year. However, the GOP is favored to take control of the Senate which would change the leadership. With a GOP controlled Senate, it is likely current ranking member Senator David Vitter (R-LA) would be appointed as chair of EPW.

Both Boxer and Vitter have been in favor of passing a long-term highway funding bill and will likely work together after the election to get this issue back on the table. However, Vitter plans to run for LA governorship in 2015.

The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection has jurisdiction over transportation safety programs. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Ranking Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) held a hearing this session regarding NHTSA safety issues, and their work is expected to increase in this area as vehicles become increasingly connected, as well as autonomous. If Senator McCaskill takes Commerce Tech Subcommittee, the seat would likely fall to Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

House: House T&I Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) has been a strong advocate of self-driving car technology and also has expressed a desire to get a long-term highway trust fund bill passed next year, a temporary authorization that is set to expire Mary 2015. Rep. Shuster is up for reelection but he will easily be reelected as his seat is in a GOP-safe district. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), the ranking member, is in a tough reelection bid and analysts think his opponent has a good chance at winning. It's not clear who would take Rahall's position on the committee if he loses his seat.