NASAA Notes: November 2022

November 1, 2022

Congress Awaits the Midterm Elections

On November 8, elections will be held for every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and approximately one-third of the U.S. Senate. These elections, often referred to as the midterms because they occur at the midway point of the President’s term, are significant, not only because they will determine control of the legislative branch, but also because they are viewed as an important bellwether of the incumbent President’s political party. Despite a series of successes, including passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, there is no doubt that President Biden and his Democratic colleagues, who currently control both the House and Senate, face difficult headwinds. Historically (since World War II), the President’s party has lost an average of 26 seats in the House and four in the Senate in the midterm elections.

Also, adding to the challenges for the Democrats’ hopes in November is their razor-thin margins in both chambers. In the Senate, Democrats and Republicans are evenly split at 50-50, with the vice president serving as the tie-breaking vote. In the House, Democrats have a four-vote majority. Thus, even a modest swing in the Republicans’ favor could allow them to assume control of Congress. While polls have varied, the consensus view heading into the election is that the Republicans will win back control of the House of Representatives, while the Democrats will retain (and may slightly expand) their majority in the Senate.

What all of this might mean for the arts is unclear. So far, the Biden administration has used Democratic control of Congress to implement its policy agenda. Should Republicans win control of one or both chambers, we will see a clear shift from a legislative approach to enacting policy toward a regulatory approach. Also complicating matters is that the threat of government shutdowns and/or fights over the debt ceiling will increase, as Republicans and Democrats square off with one another.

As arts advocates we will need to be proactive following the election, meeting with new members of Congress and reestablishing relationships with those returning. We are fortunate that the arts have been able to weather similar swings in political power in recent years, because of the concentrated effort made by all of you to diligently build inroads. I want to thank you all for being so diligent in building these inroads. As you think about how best to approach your legislators following the elections, please do not hesitate to contact NASAA with any questions. We are here to help.


In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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