The Election of 2016 is in the books and the upset victory of President-elect Donald Trump has sent Washington into a collective freak-out. This freak-out is not solely because of a general opposition to Trump, but rather because many “insiders” have virtually no idea as to what the President-elect’s priorities will be and what will be the result.
When you compound a Trump victory with the GOP’s unexpected retention of the Senate and a still strong hand in the House of Representatives, the entire dynamics of what was expected to happen in 2017 (a Clinton Presidency with a narrow Democrat Senate and a GOP House) have been completely upended.
Immediately we begin to look at some of the regulations that the Obama Administration has been working on and ask the question of what happens to them.
Here’s a list of a few of the potential regulatory items that we will be watching and what MAY happen:
• Department of Labor’s Overtime Regulation. This regulation, which makes the minimum salary for an overtime exempt employee $47,000+ on December 1 is still scheduled to take effect. Trump has never taken (to my knowledge) a position on this issue. Barring an injunction from a lawsuit or some form of Congressional action, which President Obama must sign, before December 1, I believe this regulation is still going to take effect.
• Department of Treasury’s elimination of Valuation Discounts. Treasury is still slated to hold a public meeting on December 2 in Washington, which is expected to be widely attended with more than 9,000 public comments criticizing the proposal. With legislation in both the House and Senate tackling this issue, I believe that it is likely this regulation will not take effect or, if it does, will be in a drastically different form. Simply put, Trump has proposed full repeal of the Estate Tax (and this proposal is an expansion of the tax) and there appears to be bipartisan opposition to Treasury’s effort.
• Department of Energy Furnace Proposal. DOE has proposed to make the efficiency standard for residential gas furnaces 92% AFUE above 55k BTUs and 80% at or below 55k BTUs. Comments are due later this month and, barring an agreement between stakeholders and DOE, this becomes a race against the clock as DOE would seek to finalize this rule before President Obama leaves office. A lawsuit almost certainly awaits a finalized rule.
• Paris Climate Accord. President Obama and several world leaders agreed to this climate agreement which has been evident in his Climate Action Plan, but is not binding and therefore could be stopped by President-elect Trump very easily, something he strongly hinted at during the campaign.
• Kiglali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (HFC Phase-out). Perhaps the biggest wild card to figure out. This proposal would phase-out HFCs and was set to face Senate ratification where it needs 67 votes to be ratified. Clinton would have assuredly pressed for its ratification, but we are not sure about President Trump and it will be interesting to see how many current supporters of the agreement adjust their position once the Trump administration is sworn in. Trump could simply signal he has no interest in this and it would likely fail or he could push for its passage in a show of bipartisanship.
Stay tuned as HARDI Advocacy keeps you informed on these issues and more as we head into 2017.