Election 2022: New Congress Starting to Take Shape

Editor’s Note: The 2022 election results were not final as of press time. The following information was as of November 14, 2022.
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While the dust has not quite settled yet on the 2022 midterm election, it’s safe to say that an early top-line narrative doesn’t include a major “red wave” that many experts predicted for the midterm election. That said, there were some important takeaways from the November 8th elections. For one, voter interest and turnout were high, signaling that Republican and Democrat voters believed their votes matter. And across the board, candidates who lost their races conceded gracefully, defying some media predictions. A positive outcome.

As bigger picture take-aways unfold, outcomes in many specific races remain undetermined days after the election. At press time, no one can say for certain what the final outcome will be in the U.S. House of Representatives. Either party needs to reach 218 to gain the majority. What we can say is that the margin will be slim whichever party takes control.

Control of the Senate was decided after several days of careful ballot counting in Arizona and Nevada. Democrats will control the gavel and the agenda with at least 50 members; Republicans will hold at least 49 seats. Georgia declared a run-off to be held in early December to determine whether incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock can stave off a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker for the final Senate seat. Democrats picked up a high-profile win in Pennsylvania, with John Fetterman defeating GOP candidate and talk-show host Mehmet Oz. Republicans, on the other hand, kept a hotly contested Senate seat in Ohio, when J.D. Vance defeated popular Democrat, Rep. Tim Ryan.

So what does all of this mean? The biggest impact by far will be in the House, where all of the committee chairmanships potentially could change at the beginning of the 118th Congress in 2023. Following is a snapshot of key committees for the Hardwood Federation and prospective new leaders. The good news in the House is that hardwood champions will be in key leadership roles regardless of the final vote tally.

  • Longtime ally Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA-15) will serve as chair or ranking member of the Agriculture Committee. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) is also a good friend and has chaired the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee.
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) will play a leadership role on the Ways and Means Committee. Influential members Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-1) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) also are known well to the Hardwood Federation.
  • Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-4) will have the one or two spot on the Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16) also sits on Natural Resources and he and the federation have developed a good relationship over the years.

In the Senate, key committee leadership positions played out in a win-win scenario for the hardwood industry. Industry champions include long-time allies such as the following:

  • Likely Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) bode well for moving priorities in the farm bill in 2023.
  • Party leaders on the Natural Resources Committee offer another favorable scenario, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as Chair and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WV) poised to be the Committee’s Ranking Member.

Members of Congress will return to Washington in November and December for what promises to be an active “lame duck” session of Congress. Key items include consideration of an end-of-year tax package, which may include an important deduction for heavy-duty equipment, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which promotes mass timber programs, and spending legislation to fund the federal government beyond December 16, the expiration date of the current “Continuing Resolution.”

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The Hardwood Federation PAC – How Did Our Candidates Do?

The vast majority of those supported by HFPAC were successful in their bids for office this year, as of November 10. Of the 11 HFPAC-supported, senate candidates who were up in 2022, 10 have won or are expected to win their election bid, with only Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) race remaining undecided. On the House side, so far, 49 out of 59 PAC picks will be returning to Congress in 2023. Five candidates either lost their primaries, retired, or in the case of long-time friend Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2), sadly passed away earlier this year. Five others remain on the fence, and therefore, open the possibility of adding to the list of HFPAC winners as the dust settles on the midterm elections.

The Hardwood Federation will be watching the election results closely as they trickle in and reporting the results through our weekly Cheat Sheet and Action Alerts. If you are not on our email list already and would like to be, you can sign up at hardwoodfederation.com.

Dana Lee Cole is the executive director at the Hardwood Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based hardwood industry trade association that represents thousands of hardwood businesses in every state in the United States and acts as the industry advocacy voice on Capitol Hill. She can be reached at dana.cole@hardwoodfederation.com.

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