The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
August 17th, 2015

From Grim to Optimistic: The First 7 Months of the 114th Congress

While there might be a lot of noise in the political world as 2016 presidential hopefuls kick off their campaigns, the halls of Capitol Hill are eerily quiet. With August recess upon us, let’s take a moment to reflect on the year so far.

January-March

The View from Here: Grim

The 114th Congress convened for the first time in January. By March, a presidential veto and partisan politicking left me wondering if we would have four more years of little productivity. It was a rocky start to say the least. It took a while for any positive news to come out of Washington.

By late March, things started to get back on track with the reintroduction of the Portman-Shaheen Senate Bill, S 2262, and the Blackburn-Schrader House Bill, HR 5027.

April-June:

The View from Here: Improving

By the time spring sprung, so did optimism that we might see some productivity out of congress. In April, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it was expediting its goals to reduce energy consumption. Shortly thereafter, I got to write about the enactment of the Energy Improvement Act of 2015 S 535, Lead Renovation Repair and Paint (LRRP) Reform and state legislation that could make positive impacts on our industry.

My outlook was on an upswing, which continues to this day.

July-Present

The View from Here: Optimistic

Rarely do people commit to being optimistic without adding the “cautiously” caveat. However, I went out on a limb with my most recent post, Optimism Is High for Important Legislation.  Seven months into the 114th Congress, we have active legislation in both the House and Senate, including LRRP Reform, the Portman-Shaheen Energy Bill and Toxic Substance Control Act reform—all of which have potential to improve market conditions and reduce costs.

And the momentum continues.

Presently, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and Vinyl Institute are actively pushing for legislation to improve conditions in our market. The DOE continues to promote energy efficiency with growing programs such as Better Buildings and Zero Energy Home Renovation. And there was record attendance at the spring EERE Peer Review and the Better Buildings Summit, emphasizing a growing commitment from key influencers in our market from utilities and building owners to state energy programs and industry partners.

My current view is optimistic. What’s yours? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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