Congressional Schedule: The 114th congressional session officially ended last Friday, December 16. Lawmakers will be on recess until Tuesday, January 3, 2017, when the 115th Congress is scheduled to convene its first session.
Priorities for the 115th Congress: House Republican leaders are hoping to use the Republican control of the House, Senate, and Presidency to fulfill long-standing conservative goals in 2017. These goals include reducing domestic discretionary spending (disproportionately affecting human needs and social justice programs), dismantling the Affordable Care Act, passing sweeping tax cuts, and repealing a host of Obama administration regulations.
To that end, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), founded by conservative members of the House Republican Conference to advance an agenda of limited government, released a manifesto last Thursday entitled First 100 Days: Rules, Regulations, and Executive Orders to Examine, Revoke, and Issue. This report comprises a list of 228 federal regulations affecting every federal department that the Caucus has deemed important for Congress and the incoming Trump Administration to remove.
In addition to doing damage to nutrition standards approved in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, the document calls for the removal of FDA nutrition labeling rules, and rules affecting clean air, safe drinking water, food safety inspections, reductions in our national dependence on fossil fuels, and assuring access to health care. The document appears to be an all-out assault on the legacy of President Obama.
While there is no guarantee that any—let alone all—of these regulations will be repealed by the new Congress and Administration, this document provides a glimpse of the types of policy changes we should be prepared to fight against in the coming months.
Trump Administration Updates: President-Elect Donald Trump made two additional cabinet level nominations last week for key government agencies: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was nominated to be Trump’s secretary of state, and former Texas governor Rick Perry, who once vowed to eliminate the Energy Department, was nominated to be Secretary of Energy. President-Elect Trump has still not chosen a nominee to lead the Agriculture Department, but is reported to be considering a rather long list of potential nominees, including Idaho Governor (and former Simplot president) Butch Otter, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives CEO Chuck Conner.