Transition Tracker | 115th Congress Sworn-in; Ads Purchased Opposing Mnuchin

WHAT HAPPENED

Yesterday, the 115th Congress was sworn in and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) was easily elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. There was a sole dissenting vote for the Speaker’s election by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) who cast his ballot for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL). Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was easily reelected as the minority leader.

Separately, the liberal activist group Allied Progress launched a campaign and website aimed at President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin. The group is focused on “combating Wall Street power and influence.” The television campaign is said to include a “six-figure” network and cable buy and is set to air in Arizona and Nevada, targeting Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Dean Heller respectively. The campaign also targets Trump’s Commerce Secretary and Deputy Secretary nominees Wilbur Ross and Todd Ricketts.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR AFSA MEMBERS

The swearing in of the 115th Congress marks the opening stages of unified Republican government in Washington for the first time since 2001. The Republican Party holds a 52-48 majority in the Senate and a 241-194 majority in the House of Representatives.

Allied Progress’ campaign echoes vehement objections by Democrats and other liberal activists that President-elect Trump’s economic team is stocked with billionaires. The campaign and increasing rancor may signal the willingness of Senate Democrats to oppose and work to block Mnuchin’s nomination at Treasury.

WHAT IS AFSA DOING

AFSA was proactive on Capitol Hill yesterday, meeting with more than 15 Representatives, Senators and their staff, as well as with members and staff of the House Financial Services and Energy and Commerce committees. We reiterated the association’s mission and Secretary-designate Mnuchin’s goal to expand and protect access to lending.

Legislative work likely will not begin until committee and subcommittee assignments are finalized, likely over the next week or two.