UPMA Issues Will Remain on the Top of the Agenda in a Biden Administration with a New CongressPosted by Frank Augustosky on 11/12/20
UPMA Issues Will Remain on the Top of the Agenda in a Biden Administration with a New Congress
By Chris McCannell, GrayRobinson consultant to UPMA
The 2020 election results are almost in as this story goes to press. Vice President Biden has become President-Elect Biden, winning the so-called “Blue Wall” states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin for the Democrats, and likely Arizona and Georgia as well. All five of these were states President Trump won in 2016. Biden based his campaign on the idea of turning around the states of the Midwest for the Democrats as well as extending his reach into suburban areas with large swaths of disaffected Republicans who were frustrated with President Trump’s leadership style. Wins in Georgia and Arizona seem to affirm his strategy to reach out to disaffected Republicans, and help him enter the White House on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021 with more than 300 electoral votes.
House Democrats, though, finished election day with mixed results. A number of UPMA supporters won re-election and are returning to Congress to continue the fight. These champions include Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-VA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and 2020 Summit attendees Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX). Unfortunately, several House Democrats who were strong supporters of UPMA and attended the 2020 Summit lost their seats, including Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Rep. Xochitl Torres-Small (D-NM). These losses and others, combined with Democrats at this point winning only one seat formerly held by a Republican, mean a more narrow majority for Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the 117th Congress begins in January.
Several senior Republican supporters of UPMA who faced tough races will be coming back in the next Congress, including Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL). A narrower Democratic majority will make bipartisan consensus even more important, and UPMA hopes that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will work together next year on comprehensive postal reform.
In the Senate, UPMA’s strongest champion, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), won a come-from-behind victory to be the first woman elected to a fifth term in the United States Senate. Senator Collins has been the lead sponsor of legislation providing the USPS with $25 billion in emergency assistance to help navigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to Senator Collins, Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), co-sponsors of the Collins bill, won competitive re-election campaigns.
Among Senate Democrats, Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, won re-election. Senator Peters is a strong friend of federal employees and supporter of UPMA.
Currently Democrats hold 48 Senate seats and Republicans hold 50. Control of the Senate will depend on who wins two Senate run-offs in Georgia scheduled for January 5, 2021. Senior Senator David Perdue (R-GA) was forced into a run-off against Democrat Jon Ossoff because he did not earn more than 50 percent of the votes cast on November 3rd. Junior Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat vacated by Senator Johnny Isakson, is facing Atlanta minister Democrat Raphael Warnock. If the Democrats win both seats on January 5th they will control the Senate majority, with Vice President Harris breaking a 50-50 tie.
The narrow Democratic outcome in the House and the narrow majority for either party in the Senate, along with President Biden in the White House, will make compromise and moderation the keys to getting significant legislation passed. This is important for UPMA’s number one goal of comprehensive postal reform that ensures that the USPS has the right financial and strategic footing to continue to serve all American households and businesses. A Democratic House, a potentially Republican Senate, and President Biden in the White House could provide the right political atmosphere for a wide-ranging compromise to achieve comprehensive postal reform. That is the goal that UPMA is working towards as we begin to lay out our strategy for the new Congress and Administration in 2021.