The Congress reconvened on January 6 and prospects for any lessening of partisan tensions seem remote. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked the “nuclear option” in late November, he virtually assured continued gridlock in the U.S. Senate. The “nuclear option” in broad terms means that most of President Barack Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees no longer need to clear a 60-vote threshold to reach the Senate floor and get an up-or-down vote.
This is important to us in a couple of ways. In practical terms, because of the negative fallout this move will cause with Senate Republicans, the President is less likely to see any of his legislative priorities move through Congress this session. It also very likely means we can expect a lot more action in the regulatory agencies because the Senate can now clear executive appointments much more quickly. Therefore, many agencies will have new leadership because the regulatory agencies are the only place the President can move his agenda forward.
For an industry like ours, Congressional gridlock is a mixed blessing. Unfortunately, for the past few years, proposals coming out of the Congress that could affect the tanning business have been overwhelmingly harmful to small business generally, and the indoor tanning industry specifically. With that in mind, a “do-nothing’ Congress is not a bad thing for us.
On the other hand, the only way the Tan Tax will ever be repealed is if the two parties work together on tax reform. Most experts agree that tax reform is possible this year but still a remote goal. Couple the hard feelings over the nuclear option with standard election year politics and the difficulties for the two parties to work together are even further magnified.
However, on the regulatory front where the President still calls most of the shots, we have to be prepared for a more aggressive government. The President is trying to salvage his second term as well as his legacy, and the regulatory agencies is one place he can still move the ball.
In Washington, we are working diligently to make sure our friends on Capitol Hill stay well versed in all the regulatory initiatives in the pipeline that could negatively affect the tanning industry. Simultaneously, we must make certain that the decision-makers in the Federal Agencies understand that there are many in Congress who continue to demand fair treatment for thousands of small businesses nationwide, including yours!
is the Executive Director of the Indoor Tanning Association.
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