Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) Photo: Evan Lockridge

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) Photo: Evan Lockridge

Just three weeks from now, Election Day will at last mercifully reveal whether Donald Trump’s upstart and populist or Hillary Clinton’s plodding and cautious campaign has won the White House.

But the more the polls in these final days point to Secretary Clinton prevailing, the more they indicate that the reelections of some GOP stalwarts on Capitol Hill are threatened.

Of greatest interest to the trucking industry is the impact Trump’s recent free fall in the polls may have on the reelection of key members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The committee “faces a shakeup after Nov. 8, with several high-profile members-- all the way up to the chairman--- far from guaranteed to keep their seats,” argues an Oct. 18 post by Politico’s Morning Transportation reporters.

The daily online political tipsheet points out that Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the committee’s chairman, is “embroiled in a race many didn't expect to be so tight.” Tea Party-backed challenger Art Halvorson narrowly lost the GOP primary to Shuster and then won the Democratic nod as a write-in candidate As a result, the state’s Democratic Party has thrown its support to another write-in, Adam Sedlock, whom Halvorson bested by just 41 votes in the primary.

Even with all that, the smart money has been on Shuster keeping his seat, despite him facing ethical questions over his reported dating of an airlines lobbyist while he was legislating an overhaul of the nation’s air traffic control system.

For example, back in August, Politico reporter Heather Cagyle contended that Halvorson faced “an uphill battle” as both establishment Republicans and Democrats will be working to undermine his candidacy.”

Then Trump happened and now all bets are off in the Keystone State and other presidential battleground states as well as in specific Congressional districts.

Morning Transportation also doesn’t like the odds for Rep. John Mica (R-FL), a former Transpo chairman who has served on the committee since he was first elected in 1992, calling him “one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country this year. He's just two points ahead of his challenger, Stephanie Murphy, according to a recent poll.”

Then there’s Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), who is again up against his opponent from two years ago, Michael Eggman. “Denham won by a solid margin then, but the district has gone blue in the past,” points out Morning Transportation. Not surprisingly, Eggman's campaign ads have tied Denham to Trump.

Perhaps it’s no wonder then that just a few hours after that Morning Transportation post, the House Transpo Committee issued a press release on Rep. Shuster releasing “highlights of the committee’s legislative record and accomplishments of the 114th Congress.”

What’s more, the chairman’s lead-off statement includes a reference to the oft-noted bipartisan efforts of the committee: “The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has demonstrated the ability to work together to produce legislation that is fundamental to a safe, efficient infrastructure network that promotes America’s competitiveness.”

Meanwhile, moving to the other side of the aisle, also on October 18, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN’s John Harwood that reforming taxation of offshore profits to fund infrastructure will be a top priority if the Democrats take back control of the Senate.

Schumer, New York’s senior senator, is running for reelection and is in line to succeed Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as the Senate’s Democratic leader. Unlike with Shuster in the House, there is little doubt Schumer will win another, his fourth, Senate term.

“The two things that come, that pop to mind-- because Schumer, Clinton, and Ryan have all said they support these-- are immigration and some kind of international tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program,” Schumer said.

“If you can get overseas money to come back here,” he continued, “even if it's at a lower rate than the 35% it now comes back at, and you can use that money for a major constructive purpose such as infrastructure-- if you did an infrastructure bank, for instance, you could get $100 billion in equity in the bank and get a trillion dollars of infrastructure.”

Related: Sen. Schumer Urges Finalizing Speed-Limiter Rule

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David Cullen
David Cullen

David Cullen

Executive Editor David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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Executive Editor David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

View Bio
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