Every year about this time, my friend Tom Perić asks me to pen a column laying out what I think may happen in the forthcoming year. Most years I’m comfortable in my assessments, barring anything drastic happening, because Congress only has a limited time to act (and with 2018 being an election year, they have even less) due to the setting of the regulatory calendar for planned actions.
As you may imagine, what has been the norm in Washington in the past is no longer the case. For folks in my line of work, this has been frustrating. Most lobbyists (many prefer the term government affairs professionals, but I am nothing if not a man of the people) know that a primary job duty is to make sure bad stuff doesn’t happen. Every now and then, you get the chance to make something good happen, but above all, you should always know what is happening. Quite simply, that has become more and more challenging.
So, without further ado, and because Tom has bought me a fair amount of drinks over the years, here are the things I think may happen in 2018.
- Some form of tax reform will pass. I don’t know what it will look like exactly, but I sense that Republicans will understand that they must do something before the midterms, and this is probably the something that they can most easily coalesce around.
- The Department of Energy (DOE) will finalize a change to the gas furnace standard. I suspect that this will finally be the year that we get a new gas furnace standard from DOE (which would start in 2023), and I think it will be some sort of dual standard for condensing and noncondensing furnaces.
- Somebody will sue the DOE over the aforementioned furnace standard. Because that seems about as likely as the sun coming up in the East given this has been the subject of litigation at least three times previously.
- There will be at least three new senators appointed in 2018. A few may be due to health reasons, but I’m banking on at least one more for less than traditional circumstances, i.e., scandal (or maybe that is traditional).
- The Supreme Court will strike down the prohibition on collecting online sales tax. It appears the high court will take this case up in 2018, and I believe the court will reverse itself from previous rulings and begin to allow states to force remote retailers to collect sales tax.
- Republicans will maintain narrow control of the Senate and House. In the House, the GOP will take on large losses, but not enough to cost them their majority, and in the Senate, Republicans will take advantage of the most favorable map in decades and maintain a very slim margin.
- Paul Ryan will not be Speaker by the end of the year. Just a hunch.
- Nancy Pelosi will not be Minority Leader by the end of the year. Another hunch.
- Pie will still be superior to cake. This cannot be debated.
- A nominally viable challenger to President Donald Trump will begin to plan a 2020 primary challenge.
I’m fortunate enough to know that not too many people go back a year to review my previous predictions, so in that case, I will add the following: Ohio State will win a national title … there will be a vacancy on the Supreme Court … We will see Tom Cruise running in a movie promo … The EPA will revise its 608 regulations … The DOL will adjust the overtime rule …There will be at least one news cycle every month based on a Tweet.
Let’s make it a great year!