Washington Waves
Washington Waves

Republican’s Mid-Term Gains Were Less Than Expected

Washington, D.C.—Republicans fell far short of the major victory many predicted for them in Tuesday’s mid-term elections, and a buoyed President Joe Biden doubled down on his agenda and repeated his intention to run again in 2024.

Biden said his party lost fewer House seats than any Democratic president’s first mid-term election in the last 40 years.

Clearly the numbers gave Democrats a reason to cheer.

One day after polls closed, control of the Senate, where Republicans needed only one pickup to win, remained up in the air.

And depending on the final results in Arizona and Nevada, control of the upper chamber once again might come down to a December run-off election in Georgia.

While Republicans appeared to be headed toward capturing the House, it would be with a smaller majority than history and pundits had suggested.

“While the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen,” Biden said Wednesday at a White House press conference with votes still being counted in some areas.

Asked what he intended to do differently in the next two years to change people’s opinion on the direction of the country, Biden said “nothing, because they’re just finding out what we’re doing.”

He went over a list of his initiatives he plans to continue to work on, ranging from infrastructure improvements to adding an assault weapons ban to previously passed gun legislation.

Citing his own record of bipartisanship, Biden said he is prepared to work with his Republican colleagues.

“The American people have made clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well,” the president said.

Several hours after the press conference ended, the White House revealed the president had spoken by phone with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who could become the next speaker of the House if Republicans win control of that chamber.

Coal Remarks

Days earlier, President Biden drew unusually sharp criticism from a key fellow Democrat by publicly taking a swipe at coal.

“We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar,” Biden said when he was in California touting the passage of the Chips and Science Act.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reacted quickly.

“President Biden’s comments are not only outrageous and divorced from reality, they ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs,” Manchin said, adding such comments are why Americans are losing trust in Biden.

The White House tried to make amends.

“The president’s remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a written statement.

Mariner Credentialing

The Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing has scheduled a teleconference of the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (NMERPAC) subcommittee for Task Statement 22-3 Mariner Credentialing Program (MCP) Transformation on November 15-16.

Anyone not part of the NMERPAC e-mail list who would like to attend the teleconference should contact Megan Johns Henry at megan.c.johns@uscg.mil.

NMERPAC advises the Homeland Security secretary through the Coast Guard commandant on matters relating to personnel in the U.S. Merchant Marine, including the training, qualifications, certification, documentation and fitness of mariners.

Five-Year Medical Certificate

The Coast Guard issued a final rule to extend the maximum validity period of merchant mariner medical certificates for first-class pilots and masters or mates serving as pilot from two years to five years.

Effective February 1, 2023, the rule was issued in response to federal advisory committee recommendations and a petition for rulemaking.

It will reduce the frequency of medical certificate application submissions to the Coast Guard but maintain the requirement for pilots to complete annual physicals and provides the Coast Guard the opportunity to review the medical examinations of pilots who may become medically unqualified between medical certificate applications to ensure safety is not compromised.

Documents are available at www.regulations.gov by typing USCG–2020–0069 in the search box and clicking ‘‘Search’’ and selecting ‘‘Supporting & Related Material.’’

For additional information, contact Eric Malzkuhn at 202-372-1425 or eric.f.malzkuhn@uscg.mil.

Credential Vetting Fees

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced fee changes for the Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) and Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) vetting programs.

Effective November 3, the updated fees are to allow TSA to continue improving the HME and TWIC enrollment experience, mitigate potential security risks and ensure that the programs remain fully funded. 

For additional information, contact Stephanie Hamilton at 571-227-2851, TWIC.Issue@tsa.dhs.gov or HME.Question@tsa.dhs.gov.

Expedited Credential Delivery

The National Maritime Center (NMC) is offering options that allow mariners to track credentials and to receive them faster than the 21 days standard mail service can take.

Any cost incurred will be the mariners’ responsibility, NMC stated.

Instructions for the expedited methods, which use FEDEX or USPS, can be found on the NMC website at www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/NMC/pdfs/helpful_links/expedited_mailing_options.pdf.