It has been five days since his inauguration, and the world continues to turn (and Trump continues to Tweet). Thus far, we have seen remarks on attendance figures at the Inauguration, “alternative facts,” Cabinet appointments, and a slew of Executive Orders. Without getting into the politics of it all, here are some key highlights of Trump’s first few days:
- Federal agencies have been instructed to freeze all pending regulations, which would apply to several key labor and employment initiatives that were borne during the Obama administration. This is actually not uncommon when a new administration takes hold. Specifically, this stops any potential progress that theoretically would have been made with the DOL’s overtime salary changes, the requirement that employers disclose certain activities relating to union persuader activities, and the EEOC’s new pay data disclosures. Some of these measures are also caught up in legal appeals so there is now a double whammy on their ability to impact the employment world.
- There is a hiring freeze in place for federal agencies, although there are exceptions that make it less ominous than it sounds (hiring can continue for jobs with a national security or public safety mission and cabinet secretaries have broad leeway to decide on exemptions, for example). This freeze apparently is scheduled to last 90 days, after which the OMB is expected to have a longer term plan in place.
- On his very first day in office, Trump issued an EO directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other agencies to interpret regulations as liberally as can be managed to minimize the burden of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). Many inside the beltway are said to be confused by what this precisely means and how it should play out. Republicans are scrambling to put together a replacement plan.
Trump is taking action but not with sufficient precision to make his decisions (whether you agree with them or not) clear in impact. I suspect there will be more of that to come.