As the ramifications of the mid-term elections begin to settle in, this is a good time to review the impact of the elections on the Forest Landowners Association and our policy agenda.

FLA is full steam ahead after Midterms

This first thing to know is that the FLA team isn’t losing a beat while the dust settles. We are formulating our strategies, reinforcing our relationships with returning members, and seeking to identify new members who may share our views on private forest ownership and management. Our work is full steam ahead.

The second thing to recognize is that the structure of the House and its committees – including those with authority for our issues – will be a work-in-progress. Final committee and subcommittee rosters, as well as subcommittee chairs, might not be fully resolved until early next year. Leaders of the House Agriculture Committee are hoping to pass the Farm Bill during the lame duck session, but they have a lot to sort out and other legislative priorities to compete with floor time.

New Congressional makeup does not affect FLA policy priorities

With those caveats in mind, there are a couple of points to make on our issues. First and foremost, for the 116th Congress, we anticipate much of our agenda being carried out at the agency level through regulations that do not require legislation on Capitol Hill. Those agencies haven’t changed, and the relationships we have built will continue to strengthen as they review regulatory changes that are beneficial to our members.

Second, do not expect any significant legislative initiatives to pass that don’t enjoy broad bipartisan support. With the Senate controlled by the Republicans and the House by the Democrats, only must-pass appropriations bills will be at the front of the agenda. Other issues, such as reform to the Endangered Species Act, are unlikely to move for the next two years. The Senate has yet to take up the House-passed “Tax Cuts 2.0” legislative package, which would permanently establish parts of the 2017 GOP tax code rewrite. Technical fixes to that overhaul, H.R. 1 (115), and a separate extension of expired temporary tax breaks, known as “extenders,” could also be on deck. (The slate of extenders includes biofuel tax credits.)

Finally, we view the increased oversight of the Federal agencies by the incoming House majority to be both a threat and an opportunity. We will vigorously defend the programs and regulations that are important to our members and use every opportunity to find the best solutions to the market and regulatory challenges faced by the forest products industry.

Your support is needed moving forward

During this time, your support will be not only appreciated but absolutely necessary to ensure success on a pro-private forest landowner agenda. Please renew your membership and encourage your fellow landowner to stay informed by supporting FLA. This will ensure that we can meet the new Congress with the firepower we need for our issues.