The Congressional and Political Affairs staff of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is gearing up to meet with the 74 new members of Congress and their staffs in order to introduce them to, and educate them about, the accounting profession's issues and priorities. There are 13 new Senators and 61 new Representatives in the 114th Congress, counting three who assumed House seats late in 2014.
The meetings are being scheduled now and will take place throughout the next several weeks as the new members get settled, juggle the many demands on their time, form alliances with other members of Congress and learn the nuances of legislating on Capitol Hill.
January 6, marked the official start of the 114th Congress, one that will be led entirely by Republicans for the first time in nearly a decade. The GOP now has a 54-46 advantage in the Senate and its biggest majority in the House since 1929. Buoyed and emboldened by big wins at the ballot box last year, Republicans are prepared to push top party priorities right out of the gate, from the Keystone pipeline to the Affordable Care Act, while also attempting to show American voters that they can effectively govern.
This endeavor will require some craftsmanship from GOP leaders, especially Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). The new Senate majority leader will need to pick off a handful of Democratic votes to pass most legislation while also uniting Republican members, some of whom have ambitions beyond the upper chamber.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also faces the continuing challenge of forging compromise within his own conference on certain contentious issues. A Democratic-led Senate is no longer standing in the way of House Republicans, and those GOP lawmakers hope to get more of their priorities to the president’s desk. But Republicans still don’t have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, so the fine, and seemingly lost, art of legislating will be in play.
This session also marks a turnover in party power, with new committee chairs, staffs, and offices.
Despite the new balance of power in Congress, the AICPA will continue to represent the profession in a non-partisan manner.