What's New In Washington: 10 Things You Need To Know—March 16 Edition

Author:Mr Donald R. Pongrace and Hal S. Shapiro
Profession:Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

The Trump presidency is halfway through its first 100 days. The legislative and executive branches are under a unified Republican government for only the second time since the Eisenhower administration, and the GOP is seeking to use this rare opportunity to advance its policy agenda. The Republicans' early priorities, including the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions and Cabinet nominations, are simple majority votes. Debate continues to swirl within the GOP over the Obamacare repeal and replace reconciliation bill, with some Republicans in Congress viewing the recently released legislation as insufficiently conservative, while others worry that it is too far to the right. Similar conflicts are likely to emerge in the coming months in the debate over tax reform, in which Republicans continue to struggle to unify behind an approach to lowering rates.

As we enter the second half of the Trump administration's first 100 days, the White House and congressional Republicans are expected to continue their push for regulatory reform, and all eyes will be on the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month as the Senate begins consideration of Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. Funding the federal government beyond April 28, 2017, will be one of the first major tests of whether Republicans and Democrats can work together to get 60 votes in the Senate. Finally, one issue that will continue to grow in urgency in the coming months is the debt limit. The Treasury's statutory power to raise the limit expires on March 16, 2017, but the administration will deploy "extraordinary measures" to push back the actual default date to later in the year, buying Congress additional time to act.

Here are 10 important things that we believe are worth focusing on from the last two weeks:

Congressional Review Act Tracker Revised Executive Order Suspending Entry of Certain Nationals from Countries of Concern AHCA Health Provisions AHCA and Tax Reform FERC and Congress Undertaking a Review of Electric Power Markets and the Role of State Policies Trump's Trade Agenda Trump's 1-for-2 Executive Order Affects Tax Regulations EPA Administrator Signals Potential Change in Federal Policy on Carbon Dioxide Reinstatement of the UHF Discount White House National Economic Council's Senior Staff Appointments Congressional Review Act Tracker

Congress continues to consider CRA resolutions to roll back Obama administration regulations. As of March 15, 2017, legislators have filed 61 CRA resolutions: 40 in the House and 21 in the Senate. Three have been signed into law by President Trump, while five more await presidential action. The House has passed an additional six resolutions that await action in the Senate. Looking forward, the 60-day deadline to use the CRA's fast-track procedures remains ambiguous as Senate Republicans determine how many extra legislative session days they will need to schedule to confirm President Trump's remaining Cabinet nominees. Current projections have the deadline falling on a date in early- to mid-May. Click here to view our CRA tracker, which lists the resolutions and their current status.

Revised Executive Order Suspending Entry of Certain Nationals from Countries of Concern

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a revised executive order (EO), titled "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States," that suspends, on a more limited basis than the original January 27 EO, the entry into the United States of certain nationals from six countries of concern. Subject to some categorical exceptions and case-by-case waivers, the revised EO states that the overall goal of the administration is to protect U.S. citizens from threats of terrorism by foreign nationals and to enhance screening and vetting protocols associated with visa issuance. Specifically, the EO suspends entry of, and visa issuance for, certain nonimmigrants from previously designated countries of concerni.e., Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemenfor 90 days, with an effective date of March 16, 2017. On March 15, 2017, however, federal district court decisions temporarily restrained enforcement of the EO, delaying its implementation. The administration is expected to vigorously appeal these decisions in short order. The EO's entry and visa issuance suspension is based on the premise, expressed in the EO, that the executive branch agenciesincluding Homeland Securityrequire time...

To continue reading