With the election of Donald Trump, and a slightly narrower Republican majority in Congress, Washington and the national punditocracy is both stunned and clamoring to find meaning in the election results. There is one simple takeaway from the recent election: The majority of Americans are frustrated with the lack of progress on the economy and feel as though Washington is ignoring their concerns. Given the choice between an extreme outside candidate and a candidate with over 30 years of public service, the outcome should not surprise anyone. American voters have a long history of shaking things up about once a generation.
The question now turns to: What does the election outcome mean for the baking industry? While it is too early to look at specific policies, clearly President-elect Trump and Republican leaders in Congress will be focused on jump-starting the economy. They know all too well that American voters didn’t buy the Republican brand, but are giving Republicans the keys to the country with and expectation of getting the economy working again.
A broad agenda is already starting to take shape, including:
- Rolling back the most onerous executive orders signed by President Obama
- Halting all major new regulations
- Passing a federal funding measure
- Nominating a Supreme Court justice
- Beginning to work on both short- and longer-term tax reforms
Considering this broad agenda, there will be opportunities to finish up some outstanding priorities from the perspective of the American Bakers Association (ABA), such as:
- Harmonizing the myriad upcoming labeling deadlines
- Seeking relief from the onerous Hours of Services regulations impacting bakery distribution
- Possibly slowing down the Department of Labor’s overtime regulation
In addition, it looks like the numerous costly regulatory proposals that were in the pipeline pre-election will all come to at least a temporary halt. Proposals such as joint employer, quick union elections, ethanol emissions, sodium and fiber all are under the microscope. The big unknown is what will happen to the Affordable Care Act. As much as some would like to see the complete and immediate repeal, it has so rewired the American health-care system that repealing and replacing Obamacare will be a delicate proposition, both logistically as well as politically.
While we are in the early stages of exploring the impact of this historic and surprising election, ABA is already pivoting in the new environment. Working through its committees to explore ways to mitigate or halt costly and disruptive policy initiatives, as well as opportunities to strengthen the baking industry, ABA is positioning itself to be effective. ABA’s committees will be looking at costs, benefits and realistic areas on which to be effective. They will be making recommendations to the ABA Executive Committee and Board in the coming months. The only guidance has been to “think big, think creatively” in addressing the biggest impediments to the baking industry’s success.
One final thought: The American people also knew that the makeup of the Supreme Court and federal judiciary were at stake in this election. For the first time in 35 years, the historic check against an out-of-control federal bureaucracy was being contested. From all accounts, the American people chose candidates that would preserve that check on the Washington bureauracy.
Now that the election is over and the country has chosen a different path, it is time for Washington to get to work. There are enormous challenges facing the country, and Americans chose candidates they believe will move toward addressing those challenges. ABA stands ready to assist policymakers in tackling those challenges. That will require even more engagement and participation on the part of our members. I am sure they will rise to the challenge.