The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) has congratulated President George W. Bush and all of the winners in House and Senate races, and looks forward to working with all of the nation’s elected leaders in the coming years on the salient issues facing our industry.
“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to President Bush on his hard-fought victory, and we wish the president and his administration continued success over the next four years,” Robert A. Rusbuldt, Big “I” CEO said. “We greatly appreciate the President’s commitment to tax relief for small businesses and his strong support for tort reform, among other important issues, and we look forward to working together with him throughout his second term to achieve positive reforms for independent insurance agents and brokers across America.”
The association also applauded all members of Congress who were elected or reelected on Tuesday, particularly the 217 House and Senate candidates supported by InsurPac, the federal political action committee that represents the unified political voice of the 300,000 agents, brokers, and their employees the Big “I” represents.
In all, only 12 of 229 congressional candidates supported by InsurPac lost, giving the PAC a 95-percent success rate this year, with a number of victories coming in closely contested races. Among the highlights for InsurPac were close victories by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and Republican candidate Mel Martinez in the open Florida Senate race, and a solid win for Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) against a strong opponent in a Republican-leaning district.
“InsurPac had a phenomenal election night, and we feel we made a real difference in a number of razor-close contests,” said Vice President of Political Affairs Nathan Riedel. “We were able to take part in so many races because of the record-setting fundraising totals contributed by our members over the past two-year cycle, in which InsurPac became a million-dollar plus PAC. As a result, we were able to help elect a number of quality candidates who support independent agents and brokers.”
Big “I” also looks forward to new opportunities it hopes will be created by the makeup of the new Congress, in which Republicans increased their majorities in both houses. A particularly hopeful note is the 55-44-1 split in the Senate, which will make filibusters more difficult than in the current 51-48-1 Senate. A filibuster threat killed class action reform earlier this year, and there is now renewed hope that this legislation, and other important bills, will move forward in the 109th Congress starting next January.
“The Big ‘I’ is bipartisan, but there is no doubt that the expanded Republican majority in the Senate increases the prospects for permanent tax relief to small businesses and much-needed tort reform, such as medical liability reform,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of Federal Government Affairs. “We will gladly work with any and all members of Congress to move forward on these issues, as well as insurance regulatory reform, renewal of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, crop insurance reform and all issues that affect independent insurance agents and brokers.”
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