The Obama Administration’s Transfer of Power to the Trump Administration
Jan. 26, 2017
By Mark Riso, VP of Legislative Affairs
Whether you had the opportunity to watch President Trump’s inauguration or not, the speech that directly follows the oath of the Presidency is extremely important in order to understand the vision and tone of an administration’s focus. A newly elected President will touch on certain issues and themes, signaling what to expect in the first 100 days.
As we wrap up the first full week of the Trump administration, and coming on the heels of the inauguration last week, the vision of President Trump’s blueprint is materializing. Remember, the inauguration address is not only a signal to the American people…it is a signal to Capitol Hill.
Affordable Care Act
Tops on his agenda is repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)…we all know this. The House and Senate took steps recently to authorize work on drafting legislation that would, in essence, begin to dismantle major provisions of ACA. President Trump then signed (on the day he was sworn in) an Executive Order to repeal and replace. Much more to come on this in the next few weeks and months.
Also mentioned in his address were tightening immigration policies, preventing manufacturing jobs from being outsourced, and promising to “rebuild” the country’s infrastructure. He also conveyed that he intends the United States will play a leadership role in global affairs (global economy), though he also stated that his intention is to also focus on domestic matters. President Trump’s inaugural speech also broke with the GOP regarding entitlement programs, as he wants to keep them as is, while GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid.
One of the most visible issues on Capitol Hill and of which President Trump campaigned, is a comprehensive tax reform policy. Current meetings on Capitol Hill (which include House Speaker Paul Ryan) have been advanced to make that happen. Speaker Ryan is a crucial part of moving a reform package on Capitol Hill as he was a chairman of financial committees in the House prior to being elected Speaker. He has pieced together a plan “Better Way” that puts the tax reform in a blueprint for action. Many of the provisions of a reform are supported by both sides of the aisle, and PHCC has issues in play (i.e., regulatory accountability, death tax, etc.) that we will push through our national grassroots network system. Make no mistake, though, “Better Way” has been well coordinated with the new administration so as to ensure success.
All in all though, it is too early to predict any timing of tax reform, though it is a safe bet that PHCC members will begin to see more and more of the reform in the spring of this year.
Another issue President Trump campaigned on and mentioned during his address is infrastructure. This is significant. Infrastructure spending includes many issues. Absolutely it includes roads, highways and bridge development and maintenance. President Trump is a believer that the health of any economy – the ability to move people and produce (state or national) – parallels its infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges).
From our standpoint, we also want underground infrastructure addressed (e.g., Flint, Michigan). But the investment into infrastructure will not be a mere federal investment. It will be a combination of federal funding and public-private partnerships (this will be a very important dynamic of the Trump Administration). Remember, Donald Trump is a “developer.” Infrastructure spending will be a critical part of the success of his first 100 days.
Status of Presidential Nominees
- John Kelly (Homeland Security)
- James Mattis (Defense)
- Mike Pompeo (CIA)
- Nikki Haley (U.N. Ambassador)
Voted out of committee
- Rex Tillerson (State)
Senate hearings complete
- Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development): Unanimous approval from the Senate
- Elaine Chao (Transportation): Senate Commerce Committee approved by a voice vote
- Rick Perry (Energy): No committee vote set
- Wilbur Ross (Commerce): Senate Commerce Committee approved by voice vote Tuesday
- Ryan Zinke (Interior): No committee vote set
- Betsy DeVos (Education): Committee vote Jan. 31
- Jeff Sessions (Attorney General): Committee vote delayed; possibly Jan. 31
- Steve Mnuchin (Treasury): No committee vote set
- Scott Pruitt (Environmental Protection Agency): No committee vote set
- Linda McMahon (Small Business Administration): Hearings Tuesday
- Mick Mulvaney (Budget Director): Hearings Tuesday
- Tom Price (Health and Human Services): Second hearing Tuesday
- Andy Puzder (Labor): Hearing Feb. 2
- Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence): No hearing set
- Robert Lighthizer (U.S. Trade Representative): No hearing set
- Sonny Perdue (Agriculture): No hearing set
- David Shulkin (Veterans Affairs): No hearing set
President Trump also signed an Executive Order to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The decision to advance the pipelines reversed actions taken by President Barack Obama's administration to block construction of the two pipelines. President Trump also stated that he will "renegotiate some of the terms" of the Keystone bill. The President then issued another executive action declaring oil pipelines constructed in the U.S. should be built with U.S. materials.