The elections of 2014 have come and gone in most jurisdictions (there are some runoff elections still pending). The results for Washington will be a divided government with Republicans holding the House and Senate and Democrats holding the White House. How this will play out in the next two years is anyone's guess. The most likely obvious impact will be the need for both sides to compromise to move legislation forward. This should hold the pace of dramatic change down quite a bit. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:
- Immigration reform efforts might be one of the first testing grounds for this new relationship. President Obama has vowed to take action via Executive Order while Congress seems to bristle at the idea. Both sides seem to be preparing to "visit" about the issues. This might be the year we see comprehensive immigration reform move forward. Remember several years ago the Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill.
- Administrative agencies continuing to push forward. Over the last several years the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have all pushed forward with a strong regulatory agenda. These agencies are able to change the course and direction of labor and employment law as they manage enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
- With the likey continuation of agency activity expect to see Congress increase its "oversight" of these agencies. The push back against the agencies will come via budgetary actions and/or increased hearings and scrutiny of actions.
From a legislative standpoint don't expect much to happen to create real change in federal employment and labor law. If employers are lucky, gridlock in Washington could slow down the pace of the various regulators and create a quiet two years until after the 2016 election cycle.