On the campaign trail and since taking office, President Trump has made deregulation central to his governing agenda. Citing unnecessary burdens and excessive costs, among his first actions as president was repealing 14 Obama-era rules and regulations using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Due to limitations on which rules are eligible for disapproval by Congress and a new administration, however, the time for swiftly and easily overturning regulations has passed. In the months since the last CRA resolution, the administration’s attempts to suspend or abolish rules through direct agency action have revealed just how complicated and drawn out that process can be. Last week, the Trump administration provided its first clear indication of how, specifically, it plans to navigate that process in pursuing the president’s broad deregulatory objectives.
Imagine a place that will soon have the world’s largest working-age population, at 1.1 billion; that has created 21 million new and stable jobs over the past five years; which dedicates 3.5 percent of GDP to infrastructure spending; and where utilities and the construction industry are generating 23 percent of growth.
If you didn’t think “Africa,” you’d be mistaken. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts the continent to be the second-fastest growing region in the world, with an annual growth of 4.3 percent. A handful of countries have recognized this potential, and in 2016, foreign direct investment in the continent topped $67 billion.
While promises of forthcoming large-scale infrastructure spending fuel headlines to the north, Latin America faces the unpostponable need to narrow its infrastructure gap. Experts agree that economic growth and infrastructure investment feed into each other. In Latin America and the Caribbean countries (LAC), the level and quality of infrastructure is inadequate and identified as one of the principal barriers to sustainable economic growth. By most accounts, the left-leaning governments of the so-called “pink tide” implemented some fairly successful social programs, expanded education and lifted millions out of poverty. Unfortunately, they did not use the years of commodity-driven bonanza to create sustainable and viable economies and failed to improve their infrastructure networks. Now that the fiesta is over, and despite the phenomenal economic challenges ahead, this is the time for consequential action and smart infrastructure investment in the Americas.
Health care, the budget, the debt ceiling, nominations, tax reform, infrastructure investment, immigration – Congress and President Donald Trump are confronted by a daunting agenda of competing priorities combined with a limited congressional legislative schedule.
While the world’s attention is drawn to every tweet and counter-tweet in America’s capital, 3,000 miles across the country, California is forging its own very different path, one with the potential to reshape the national and international policy landscape.
Led by Governor Jerry Brown and a state legislature with large Democratic majorities and powered by an economy that has outpaced all but a handful of nations, the Golden State is staking out a pole position in the race to fill the vacuum left by Washington’s upheaval and gridlock. For companies interested in or already doing business in California, it’s a state in which major legislation is moving ahead on schedule; in areas ranging from climate change to health care, immigration and infrastructure, Sacramento is charting a course that is often at odds with and frequently ahead of Washington.
The fiscal 2018 Trump budget has now been made public and immediately legislators and pundits lined up to dismiss it as dead on arrival. The phrase “dead on arrival” is always used to describe the administration’s (any administration) budget, once submitted to Congress, and this year was no exception. So where do we go from here? Within the next two weeks, the scene shifts to Congress where both House and Senate Budget Committees will attempt to produce a viable congressional budget – a task that has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. There is a lot at stake; tax reform, national security, health care and infrastructure, to name a few.
Looking at some of the hurdles they face, the average observer is wise to be skeptical. First is the issue of a balanced budget. The GOP leadership will demand that the budget committees produce a balanced budget by its tenth year. There are countless unknowns here. What is the impact of potential tax cuts we have not yet seen? How much would restructuring the nation’s health care system cost? What is the final price tag on an infrastructure bill?
When President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many feared that the Obama-era “pivot to Asia” might be over and with it, US attention would turn elsewhere or inward. Such a step could have serious consequences for access to trade, investment, human capital and for US leadership in the region generally, but other actions taken by the new administration point to a different conclusion. As with many of the former administration’s positions, the current administration is taking the opportunity to replace, revise or rebrand what it sees as outdated policy. It may not be called a “pivot” – or even a “rebalance” – but President Trump – and his administration – is paying attention to Asia.
At the end of June, the current director of the US Census Bureau, John Thompson, will resign. Though his five-year term officially ended this past December, he was widely expected to remain through the end of this year to see through scheduled 2020 Census systems tests as well as the 2017 Economic Census. His absence creates a leadership vacuum in an agency approaching a critical time in its constitutionally mandated work. The Census apportions for each state the number of seats it will hold in the House of Representatives and assesses the social and economic needs of the country’s population. In just three years – as has happened every 10 years since 1790 – the enumerated count will tally and obtain demographic data for each and every person whose usual residence is in the United States.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a budget reconciliation bill that is part of the 2017 federal budget process. As a reconciliation bill, it cannot be filibustered in the United States Senate and thus requires only a simple majority of votes to pass. On May 4, 2017, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass it by a narrow margin of 217 to 213.
Should the bill pass the Senate, the AHCA would repeal the parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) within the scope of the federal budget. It also aims to replace and amend certain provisions in the ACA, as detailed below. All other aspects of the ACA would remain in place, although many important features of the law were not specified in statute and were therefore subject to regulatory interpretation and implementation. There is a high likelihood that many such provisions will be altered, perhaps substantially, by the Trump administration.
Wall Street thinks a new round of telecommunications mergers is in the offing. The administration’s market-friendly choices for key positions thus far at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are part of the reason why. If perceived hostility among regulators appointed by past administrations held back potential mergers, the reverse is now true. Industry chatter does not indicate timid mergers but, rather, large and/or outside-the-box combinations that offer the potential of tectonic shifts in the telecommunications marketplace.
For the past decade, the European Union (EU) has seemingly been playing defense against a series of crises, throwing the existence of the union into doubt.
This year will mark the end of the EU’s decade-long run of financial crises and open the way for a reenergized and dynamic economic renewal in Europe. Within a relatively short period, Europe has experienced several milestones: March 25 marked the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Communities; May 9 sees the celebration of Europe Day; and this past Sunday, May 7, concluded a consequential French presidential election. Despite the catastrophist headlines about the EU and the Euro being on the verge of collapse, there are strong indications that point to a positive economic outlook moving forward. It is a propitious moment to take a fresh look at this rejuvenated Europe. However, business leaders will have to deal with an even more complex political machinery in an evolving regulatory landscape.