US chemicals sector welcomes Republican vote victories

03 November 2010 18:28  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US chemical producers and other manufacturers on Wednesday welcomed the broad Republican gains in Tuesday’s national elections, saying they expect the new Congress in 2011 to improve regulatory and tax environments for manufacturing.

“The next Congress must govern with steadfast attention to improving the nation’s high unemployment rate and make manufacturing a priority again,” said the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

The specialty and batch chemicals trade association added that the next Congress must work more closely with large and small manufacturers “to reduce or remove regulatory burdens that impose barriers to chemical manufacturing and job growth in our industry”.

In Tuesday elections, Republicans picked up 61 House seats previously held by Democrats and will have a 240-185 majority in that chamber when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

Although Democrats retained majority control in the US Senate, Republicans gained seats in that chamber, reducing the Democrat majority from 60 to 51.

In addition, Republicans made major gains in state-level contests, picking up ten gubernatorial positions and winning majorities in 23 state legislatures.  Those wins will have broad impact on state redistricting and national elections in 2012 and beyond.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said that it was still analysing results from Tuesday’s voting but that it anticipates more help from Congress in advancing manufacturing and industry competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“We look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the new Congress to ensure America’s chemical industry continues to drive innovation, to create high-paying jobs and to strive to be the most competitive in the world,” said Anne Kolton, the council’s vice president for communications.

SOCMA added that it expects the new Congress to ease tax and regulatory burdens.

“We don’t want our future to be one in which products continue to be innovated here in the US only to have the high cost of regulation force production overseas,” the association said.

To encourage congressional action on tax cuts and regulatory reform, SOCMA said it would be increasing its lobbying efforts, involving more of its members in making direct contact with key members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Texas voters on Tuesday re-elected Republican Rick Perry. He defeated Democratic challenger Bill White.

Perry had locked horns with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over refinery and chemical plant emissions and was endorsed by the Texas Chemical Council (TCC). About 60% of chemical manufacturing is in Texas.

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