Washington Update for the Week Ending February 17, 2017

Today marks four weeks since President Trump was sworn in. In that time he has signed 23 executive orders, signed five bills into law, seen 12 members of his cabinet confirmed, nominated one justice to the Supreme Court, fired one acting attorney general, asked for the resignation of his national security advisor, and sent 168 tweets. Here’s a summary of a few other things that are happening in Washington:

  • Three NCPA experts have submitted testimony to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). David Grantham explained to the SEC how the Dodd-Frank conflict mineral provision is harming U.S. interests. NCPA also submitted testimony from Dr. Grantham to the House Foreign Affairs Committee about defunding the U.N. Palestinian Refugee program. Devon Herrick described the negative impact of Obamacare on small businesses in testimony to the House Small Business Committee. And Pamela Villarreal provided several ideas to the House Education and Workforce Committee on modernizing federal wage and hour policies.
  • The President signed legislation this week to disapprove an Obama-era anti-coal regulation called the “Stream Protection Rule.” He also disapproved another Obama-era SEC regulation that increases costs for energy companies. Congress is working on several other resolutions to repeal Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn costly regulations.
  • The Senate is expected to confirm Scott Pruitt today as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA bureaucrats are not happy about the prospects of working for Mr. Pruitt. As of this writing, the Senate was debating the measure. A vote is expected later today.
  • The Senate confirmed Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary this week.
  • The Senate confirmed Mick Mulvaney as the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. That allows the White House to begin working on the FY 2018 budget in earnest. Look for a preliminary budget proposal in mid-March, with the full budget proposal coming 3-4 weeks after that.
  • National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned from office this week. Congress is considering an investigation into Gen. Flynn’s contacts with Russia, which precipitated his resignation. The President asked retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward to take Flynn’s place, but Adm. Harward turned it down. Amid the tumult at the National Security Council, people are asking, “Where’s The Director Of National Intelligence?
  • Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder withdrew his name from consideration this week. Senate Democrats have been working for weeks to bring down at least one of the President’s nominees, and they convinced enough Senate Republicans to join them in opposing Mr. Puzder. During his first solo press conference, the President nominated Alexander Acosta to take Puzder’s place. By the way, the President said a lot of other interesting things during yesterday’s press conference.
  • The Senate will begin confirmation hearings for the President’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, on March 20.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington DC this week for extensive meetings with President Trump.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also in Washington DC this week to meet with President Trump about trade and other issues in common with our Neighbor to the North.

Brian Williams is the NCPA’s Legislative Director.

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