The yard signs have come down, local advertising has gone back to normal and the results are (mostly) in. The midterm elections are behind us and Republicans are declaring victory with eight additional Senate seats (53 of 100) and increased dominance of the house with 12 new seats (244 of 435).

No matter which side of the aisle you prefer one thing is certain: there can be no more excuses. The expectations are high that the new Congress will produce results—that it will be much more productive than its predecessor.

But the ultimate question is: Will Congress and the president be able to cooperate?

The first two months will be very telling – and will set the stage for the next two years. Change will be the theme starting when the 114th Congress convenes for the first time on January 3, 2015. Senate committee leadership will shift to Republicans, which will then lead to a jockeying of committee members and leaders across the board. Policies and priorities will begin to emerge.

Of note to our industry is the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which many assume will be led by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Inhofe, who is a long-time critic of the EPA, would certainly seek to reverse many of the policies impacting our industry. Among them could be at least one positive move that includes stronger action to modify the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule.

How You Can Cause Change

We know change is coming. The good news is that, in a way, it’s a fresh start for our industry and an excellent chance for you to get involved. This is the perfect time to connect with your members of the House and Senate, whether it’s to congratulate them for their election/re-election, to make a first introduction or to thank them for their service if they aren’t returning to their post.

Make yourself and your company known to your elected officials and don’t stop the conversation. The best way you can influence policymaking is by communicating with those who have the power to make a difference.

Only time will tell how productive the new Congress will be and whether they will find a way to meet in the middle with the president. But The View from Here is that we can’t afford to have another two years of partisan politics interfering with productivity. Congress is out of excuses and it’s time to make progress on important issues affecting the American people and our industry.

What’s your view? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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