WASHINGTON UPDATE: What to Expect in the 112th Congress?

Executive DirectorIndustry Advocacy & News5 Comments


As Capitol Hill prepares to close the chapter on the 111th Congress and convene a new session this month, we want to take a moment to evaluate and provide an overview of the changes that The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild and its members can expect in the 112th Congress.

President Obama will be evaluating his options on how to work with a newly elected and emboldened Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a slim Democratic Majority in the Senate.  Republicans rendered meaningful gains in both Chambers of Congress with an increase of 63 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate.

Fresh off big gains across the country, Republican leadership has pledged a responsibility to listen to voters and support a legislative agenda that reflects the perceived mandate they received on November 2nd.  Topping their priority list is repealing sections of the recently passed health care law, limiting increases to federal agencies and programs, and the extension of tax breaks for individuals and small businesses.

Unlike the 111th Congress, the federal government will be divided among political parties, with the Democrats controlling the Senate and White House and the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. All legislation signed into law during this 112th Congress will result from a compromise between parties, as opposed to the previous session in which the Democrats dominated the agenda. We can expect the parties to reach compromise on certain economic issues involving measures friendly to small business and additional tax relief. We can also expect legislation on education, trade, and transportation and infrastructure.

What does all this mean for the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild and its members?  It means that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 will have to be reintroduced in 2011 to a much less friendly audience who will in all likelihood be more business friendly and opposed to imposing burdensome regulations on small business.

As the new Congress begins to organize, we will be tracking the committee assignments of newly elected Members of Congress and look to seek their support in opposition to the Safe Cosmetics Act as it currently stands.  To that end, we have already had several discussions with current Members of Congress and their staff regarding our concerns and we plan to schedule meetings with lawmakers in January to further state our position on how harmful this legislation would be to soapmakers across the country.

During this time of political transition, it is important to have advocates on the ground monitoring the political climate in Washington and how it can impact your industry.  We are very excited to be a part of the HSMG team and look forward to delivering your message to the decision-makers in our nation’s Capital.

Lastly, for those of you looking to get involved, rest assured that a sample letter to your Member of Congress is being drafted so you can express your concerns regarding the Safe Cosmetics Act and the impacts it will have on your business.  This is important as it will allow us to express our opinions collectively to many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Mary Anne Walsh & Rick Limardo

Roetzel & Andress

5 Comments on “WASHINGTON UPDATE: What to Expect in the 112th Congress?”

  1. Aloha Mary Anne & Rick ~ thank you for being a part of this organization! All of us are very happy to have you on board. Mahalo for all you are doing to help our industry!!
    Debora Driscoll
    Hawaiian Bath & Body

  2. Thanks Mary Anne, Rick and Leigh (HSMG President) for all you are doing to make sure that the voices in our Industry are being heard and our businesses protected. I will certainly use your resources to contact my legislative representatives.

  3. Mary Anne and Rick,

    Thanks so much for the update on the current political climate in the legislature. Please do keep us posted on any significant changes or trends you see happening from your up close and personal vantage point. I find it very helpful both to better understand the possibilities as far as the potential legislation regarding our industry as well as how those trends may impact our industry itself and even general retail and economic outlooks.


    Susan Svec
    Susan’s Soaps & More

  4. Thanks team! It’s great to know that we have you working so hard on our behalf AND that we have such a competent team in Washington keeping their ears to the ground and advising you on strategy. We’re behind you all the way.

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