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February 20, 2017

What Issues are Within President Trump’s Control?

During the HR Summit at this year’s Global Best Practices Conference, Joe Kefauver and Franklin Coley of Align Public Strategies shared some of their insights on what may and may not change during President Trump’s administration.
Here are some things that are within the president’s control. Click here to read about local issues, including minimum wage, paid leave and scheduling regulations that are outside of President Trump’s control.

Policy Enforcement

During the Obama administration, businesses operated under a climate of enforcement. The Department of Labor fined first, and then educated. Under President Trump, enforcement will resemble Bush-era compliance. Companies will receive warnings and education instead of starting out with fines and litigation. We will have a different working relationship with our enforcement community.


If you dislike the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remember that the Republican party must come up with a replacement. There’s a lot of confusion about healthcare. 70 percent of Americans approve of the ACA, but also disapprove of Obamacare. Obviously, they just don’t realize that it’s the same law.
If the ACA goes away, 20 million Americans will lose health care. There just isn’t a replacement yet, and the president’s nominee for the Department of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price, is facing a difficult confirmation process due to an alleged conflict of interest.
If Price is confirmed, he has experience working on a replacement for the ACA and will work in lockstep with colleagues in the Senate. However, there is too much political capital at stake to simply repeal this law without a replacement, especially since the president wants to keep popular features. It will be challenging for the Republicans to find a replacement that can financially support popular features (such as no pre-existing conditions or lifetime limits) without disrupting the insurance industry.


We’ve already seen President Trump’s actions against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As Kefauver noted, “Policy by Twitter will smack into governing. Campaigning is different than governing.” NAFTA can’t be rescinded without congressional action. Furthermore, the agricultural community is the big winner with NAFTA, and these are the same constituents that elected President Trump.


Once the dust settles, Congress may try to nationalize E-Verify, a system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. The National Restaurant Association is in favor of E-Verify. In the interim, the President’s executive order on immigration led to lawsuits that were supported by nearly 100 corporations, including many that are integral to the restaurant industry.

Administrative Agencies

Leaders of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Department of Justice and Department of Labor all have terms. The first term for a current board member doesn’t end until December 2017, and the president still has two board seats to fill. NLRB General Counsel Robert Griffin, who wrote the joint employer decision and other notable opinions, has a term that goes through November 2017. The General Counsel controls a lot, so don’t look for changes at the NLRB until 2018.
It takes administrative processes to change case laws and precedents, so it will take a while for cases to have an impact on current rules and regulations. We don’t know if President Trump will come up with his own overtime standard. If so, it may look like something that was enjoined here in December. Regardless of action at the federal level, states may move forward with similar regulations.

1f8e46dLiz D’Aloia is the founder of HR Virtuoso, a mobile recruiting company based in Dallas, TX. She is an HR professional, employment attorney, speaker and blogger. Prior to launching HR Virtuoso, Liz worked at national transportation companies and at a global retailer. Connect with Liz on LinkedIn and follow her at @hrvirtuoso.

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