Align Public Strategies recently shared some of their insights on what legislation may – and may not—change during President Trumps’ administration.
Here are some things that are within the president’s control. Please click here to read about local issues, including minimum wage, paid leave, and scheduling regulations that are outside of President Trump’s control.
The President Can Control Some Legislation
- Policy Enforcement
During the Obama administration, businesses operated under a climate of enforcement. The Department of Labor fined first and then educated. Under President Trump, enforcement will resemble Bush-era compliance. Companies will receive warnings and education instead of immediately facing fines and litigation. We will have a different working relationship with our enforcement community.
- Healthcare Legislation
If you dislike the ACA, remember that the GOP must come up with a replacement. There’s a lot of confusion about healthcare. 70% of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act, but also disapprove of Obamacare. Obviously, they just don’t realize that it’s the same law.
If the ACA goes away, 20 million Americans will lose health care. There just isn’t a replacement yet. The new Secretary of HHS, Tom Price, has experience working on a replacement for the ACA and will work in lockstep with colleagues in the Senate. However, there is too much political capital at stake to simply repeal this law without a replacement, especially since the president wants to keep popular features. It will be challenging for the GOP to find a replacement that can financially support popular features (such as no pre-existing conditions or lifetime limits) without disrupting the insurance industry.
- Trade Legislation
We’ve already seen President Trump’s actions against the TPP and NAFTA. As Align Strategies noted, “Policy by Twitter will smack into governing. Campaigning is different than governing.” NAFTA can’t be rescinded without congressional action. Furthermore, the agricultural community is the big winner with NAFTA, and these are the same constituents that elected President Trump. Economies in border states, especially Texas, are extremely dependent on NAFTA and many companies strategically place manufacturing and distribution centers to take advantage of it.
- Immigration Legislation
Once the dust settles Congress may try to nationalize E-Verify. The National Restaurant Association is in favor of E-Verify. In the interim, the President’s executive order on immigration led to lawsuits that were supported by nearly 100 corporations, including many that are integral to the restaurant industry.
Administrative Agencies and Legislation
Leaders of the NLRB, DOJ, and DOL all have terms. The first term for a current board member doesn’t end until December 2017, and the president still has two board seats to fill. NLRB General Counsel Robert Griffin, who wrote the joint employer decision and other notable opinions, has a term that goes through November 2017. The General Counsel controls a lot, so don’t look for changes at the NLRB until 2018.
It takes administrative processes to change case laws and precedents, so it will take a while for cases to have an impact on current rules and regulations. We don’t know if President Trump will come up with his own overtime standard. If so, it may look like something that was enjoined here in December. Regardless of action at the federal level, states may move forward with similar regulations.
Under President Obama, the DOL specifically named the restaurant industry as the worst offender of wage and hour regulations and pushed joint employer claims against restaurants, sometimes in coordination with the EEOC and NLRB. This will likely change under the Trump administration.
Change always has the risk of unintended consequences. We don’t know will happen as we repeal laws, revoke trade deals, and change administrative processes. Under President Trump, it’s “trade policy by Twitter” as he goes after brands such as Carrier and Ford. Whether or not this is sustainable remains to be seen.