What the Election Day results probably mean for the aggregate industry

By |  November 12, 2018
Headshot: Pit & Quarry Editor-in-Chief Kevin Yanik

Yanik

The “blue wave” so many anticipated this Election Day never materialized, but come January we’ll again find ourselves with a divided government.

While Democrats gained more than the 23 required seats to take control of the House, Republicans added on to their majority in the Senate and won some key gubernatorial races (Ohio, Iowa, likely Florida) that could position President Donald Trump for re-election in 2020.

Still, with the Senate in Republican control and the House in the hands of Democrats, Congress’ ability to pass any meaningful legislation in 2019 becomes that much more challenging. The Trump administration was expected to repeal Obamacare in its first year. That never happened. The administration did score a big win at year’s end in 2017 with the passage of tax reform.

Another victory that should have been a cinch these last two years – infrastructure – passed us by. In the days after Election Day 2018, however, “infrastructure” was again a buzzword, rolling off the tongue of the president as an area where a divided government could possibly come together.

“Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” the president said, in a post-Election Day press conference. “These are some of things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that.”

The president is right: the opportunity on infrastructure is there. One has to admire his salesmanship of Democrats and the flattery he extended at that presser to Nancy Pelosi.

Realizing any major legislative victories will have to come with multiple votes from Democrats, Trump made an attempt to mend old wounds. He noted that Democrats “stick together great.” Unfortunately for the president, Democrats are more likely to unite in 2019 over their pursuit of investigations into the administration than they are on infrastructure.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope Republicans and Democrats can come together to bring elements of the president’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan to life. I have concerns, though, because of how polarizing our politics have become.

The Democrats, for their part, expressed interest in doing something on infrastructure. As the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association reports, Pelosi is among the Democrats who’ve detailed her intentions on infrastructure.

“One of my things is build, build, build,” Pelosi said Oct. 22 at a CNN event. “Build the infrastructure of America from sea to shining sea. Not only surface transportation but broadband and water systems.”

But is all of this talk merely posturing? Can a nation as divided as ours with a now-divided government come to terms on anything of substance? The 116th Congress starts Jan. 3. We shall know soon enough.

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