As the last outstanding Congressional races are being decided, we note what has not changed as a result of the 2012 elections. For one thing, the Democrats still control the White House and Senate and the Republicans still control the House of Representatives. For another, none of the issues facing Congress and the President – put on hold for the campaigns – have left. Decisions still need to be made on appropriate tax and spending levels; the implementation of a federal budget for the remainder of the fiscal year; long-term support levels for our nation’s farmers; the ongoing implementation (and funding) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148); and the support of renewable energy. Some of these decisions are more pressing than others and the most pressing of all will be to decide the correct level of taxes and spending that will keep the economy from recession on January 1st. Congress will address these concerns in the Lame Duck session expected to begin soon and it is possible that many other pending matters will be taken up as well as part of so-called “Grand Bargain”.
How each side interprets the results, and whether they have a mandate or not, remains to be seen. But it is clear that the time for procrastinating is over. Expect major decisions to be made in the next few months, when Congress returns for a Lame Duck session and then in the 113th Congress.