IEC’s Outlook Under the Trump Administration
The new Republican congress took office on January 3rd and the President was sworn in on January 20th, officially giving the Republicans control of both the executive and legislative branches. The Republican majority shrank between the 114th and 115th Congress and currently stands at 241 - 194 in the House and 52 – 48 in the Senate, with two of the 48 being Independents caucusing with the Democrats. Republicans will continue to control Congress’ agenda; however, they still do not possess a 60 vote majority in the Senate, making it difficult to pass the vast majority of meaningful legislation. Most bills in the Senate requires 60 votes to reach what is called “cloture,” which ends debate on a bill so the chamber can proceed to an up or down vote on a given piece of legislation. Otherwise, debate can continue indefinitely and the minority party – in this case the Democrats – can obstruct and thwart attempts to pass bills they oppose. Below is some perspective on what to possibly expect with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans running the legislative branch.
President Trump is currently in the process of appointing department heads and other political positions, all of which will take time. With regards to the Department of Labor, he’s nominated CKE CEO Andrew Puzder. CKE owns fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Puzder has also served on the board of the International Franchise Association, a close coalition and political ally of IEC’s on many labor issues. His nomination hearing has been delayed a number of times and has been rescheduled for February 16. Unions have adamantly opposed his nomination and have done everything they can to stir up controversy around him. IEC joined a coalition letter to the Hill and the administration in support of Puzder, who has been an outspoken critic of many of the labor policies put forth by the Obama administration, having published op/eds in the Wall Street Journal opposing proposals such as the overtime rule.
In addition, the President has hundreds of other appointments to make for positions within each department. Most of his appointments thus far fit the mold of traditional conservatives. This would mean less of an enforcement and punishment style and more of a cooperative approach to government, to include reducing the size of government in general. President Trump also recently signed an Executive Order (EO) stating that for one new regulation enacted by an agency, two must be removed. This EO was proposed primarily as a way to help small businesses deal with the regulatory burden.
The President will also have a great deal of influence over the Judiciary branch. Recently, the President nominated federal appellate court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. It’s also possible that Trump could have a say in the shape of the Court with additional appointments given that three of the more liberal justices are around 80 years old or older. His influence on the judicial system will also be felt in the lower courts, where nearly 100 positions will need to be filled.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Of particular concern to IEC is that National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has no doubt handed out some extreme rulings and interpretations in recent years. Currently, an Obama appointee is the General Counsel. His term expires in November 2017, at which time Trump will be able to appoint someone to this position. The current political breakdown of the Board is two Democrats to one Republican, with two vacancies that Trump will be able to fill. The lone Republican, Phil Miscamarra, was recently named Chair; however, he is still in the minority, meaning rulings and cases that come before the Board will still largely be determined and ruled in favor of a Democratic view point.