FloorDaily.net’s Kemp Harr recently discussed the new political landscape in Washington with Tracy Hammond, Senior Policy Advisor at Polsinelli. Tracy and Polsinelli have worked with the Carpet and Rug Institute’s lobbying efforts for a number of years.
The 2014 mid-term elections saw a dramatic shift with the Republican Party taking a majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives. This has major ramifications for a number of political issues, but it could also have an effect on the carpet industry.
Tracy’s overall outlook was positive in that Congress, after recent gridlock, may be able to stabilize and begin to effectively legislate. He believes the Republicans will focus on spending and the economy with a long-term strategy.
“The Republicans feel they have a mandate coming in,” he said. “Perhaps they can come at [the economy and deficit] with a longer view and figure out new priorities.”
The conversation then shifted to energy policy which could have a major impact on the carpet industry, other manufacturing sectors, and even consumers.
“One thing that has kept the carpet industry here in the United States, and made it one of the biggest and last bastions of U.S. manufacturing, is reliable and affordable power,” Tracy said.
Tracy believes that a Republican legislature will want to develop the energy infrastructure of the United States, which would be very beneficial to the carpet industry.
When talking about the economy, he explained how consumer confidence is beginning to look up and how that might have a positive effect on the flooring market.
“Consumer confidence plays a huge role in consumer spending, sometimes even more so than the state of the economy,” he said.
As mentioned earlier, Tracy’s overall outlook was positive and he looks forward to how the 114th Congress will lead the country.
“There is a real window to legislate,” Tracy said. “The Republicans want to show and, quite frankly, need to show that they can legislate and govern.”