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The peaceful transfer of power was complete on January 20 as SHRM and its affiliate the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) partnered with RealClearPolitics for an Inauguration Watch Event along the parade route in Washington, D.C. SHRM has participated in the last three election cycles and inaugurations and was eager to hear President Donald Trump's inaugural address, which set forth his priorities for the next four years.
After his swearing-in, Trump acted swiftly. He issued a series of executive orders; called on Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and to enact comprehensive tax reform reducing the personal and business tax rates; announced his plans to withdraw from and renegotiate certain trade agreements; and began fulfilling a number of his campaign promises relating to immigration by calling for the immediate construction of a wall along the U.S./Mexico border and instituting a suspension of the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of certain countries in the Middle East. We also expect additional executive orders will be forthcoming on employment-based visas and worksite enforcement of the employment verification requirements.
While high-profile policy issues have dominated this week's news cycle, Trump's transition team has also been busy staffing the federal agencies and working to advance his cabinet nominees in Congress. As of press time, directors for the CIA and FBI, as well as the secretaries of homeland security and defense and the U.N. ambassador, had been confirmed by the Senate. Two nominees of particular interest to the HR community include Representative Tom Price (R-GA) as head of the Department of Health and Human Services and Andrew Puzder as the next secretary for the Department of Labor; neither has been confirmed by the Senate as yet.
Congress, too, has gotten in on the act. In addition to its passage earlier this month of its budget blueprint and reconciliation package (S. Con. Res. 3) for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) reiterated the Trump administration's commitment to advancing tax reform in the months ahead, citing the need to lower the corporate tax rate for businesses in order to create a pro-growth economic environment. House and Senate Republicans are still in the process of drafting legislative language for an overhaul of U.S. tax law, but hearings are expected in the coming months and we expect there will be an examination of the tax deferred status of many employer-sponsored fringe benefits, including retirement and educational assistance benefits.
Congress will also initiate the Congressional Review Act (CRA) process next week for the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces ("blacklisting") regulation that is currently subject to a preliminary injunction. If passed and signed into law, the CRA would prevent future administrations from drafting and implementing a "substantially similar" proposal to the one that is currently under consideration.
Trump is scheduled to deliver his first State of the Union speech on February 28. SHRM and CFGI will provide coverage of the event through their Twitter accounts. Stay tuned!
also . . .
HR and the New Administration: What to Expect in the Coming Year January 30, 2017, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT Sponsored by Sage People Get an outlook on employment law during the first year of the Trump administration. Join Lisa Horn and Nancy Hammer of SHRM's Government Affairs team as they provide an overview of what will likely be on the top of the new president's regulatory agenda, as well as possible legislative initiatives for the 115th Congress. To register for this one-hour webinar, click HERE.
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