Braving long lines to have their voices heard, Americans went to the polls in record numbers last Tuesday and voted overwhelmingly for change. The end result: Senator Barack Obama (IL-D) won the presidential election, and the Democrats padded their margins in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
"We congratulate President-elect Barack Obama and look forward to working with his administration and the re-elected and newly elected members of the 111th Congress," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.
"Of course, everyone's top priority simply must be to get our economy back on track. Given these uncertain economic times, we appreciate that the new administration has already called for input and acknowledged the importance of understanding the issues from all points of view," Tipton said.
The election increased Democratic control of both the House and Senate. The House, previously split between 232 Democrats and 199 Republicans, now will seat at least 255 Democrats and 175 Republicans. Five races remain undecided.
Before the election, Democrats held a much smaller majority in the Senate, with 51 seats that included two Independent senators who caucus with the Democrats. Republicans had held 49 seats. Pending the results of undetermined races in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota, Democrats now hold at least 57 Senate seats, while Republicans will have at least 40 seats.
For now, it appears that Republicans have successfully fought off the predicted filibuster-proof, supermajority of 60 Democrats in the Senate. This majority could still be realized, however, if Republicans do not hold on to at least one of the three races yet to be determined.
Regardless of the outcome of the undeclared races, an army of fresh faces will join Congress, forming a freshman class that could be as large as 57 in the House and eight in the Senate. IDFA plans to meet with each one of the new legislators early next year.
"We also will continue working closely with farm and consumer groups, as well as with food industry and business organizations, to advance policies that acknowledge the value the U.S. dairy industry and the jobs it creates," Tipton said. "In addition, we will work collaboratively to support the growth of domestic and international dairy markets and promote milk and dairy products as part of a healthy diet for all Americans."