DC Digest – February 24, 2017
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
In Today’s Issue:
- Leaked ACA Replacement
- White House Budget Timeline
- Transgender Transference
- New Executive Order on Regulations
- DeVos Speaks on Higher Ed
- New Accreditation Leaders
- Pruitt Addresses EPA Staff
- Confirmation Update
LEAKED GOP OBAMACARE BILL
A draft House Republican repeal bill would dismantle the Obamacare subsidies and discontinue its Medicaid expansion. The legislation would take down the foundations of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes.
It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create “high-risk” pools for some people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration has set its first budget deadline. White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said that the president’s “skinny” budget plan should be released March 13.
Thus, newly confirmed OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will have less than a full month in office before the document is released. The March deadline shows that Trump’s team intends to meet its goal of releasing a budget within 45 days in office.
On Wednesday, the Justice and Education Departments rescinded an Obama-era effort to protect transgender students under Title IX.
The Obama administration believed that gender identity was protected under Title IX — and that transgender students should be able to use bathrooms and locker rooms in alignment with their gender identity. The Trump administration stopped short of saying that gender identity isn’t protected by Title IX, noted that courts have split on the issue, and said they think it’s best left to the states.
NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER
President Trump signed an Executive Order today, February 24, establishing regulatory watchdogs inside federal agencies who are responsible for enforcing his agenda.
The Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Executive Order will create a task force and regulatory reform officer at each federal agency, appointed by agency heads.
The task forces will be responsible for combing through existing regulations within 90 days to determine which ones can be repealed or modified.
DeVos SPEAKS ON HIGHER ED
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke on the media, the Obama administration, and the American higher education system in remarks yesterday at a gathering of young conservatives.
MORE, NEW ACCREDITATION LEADERS
The federal panel that advises the Education secretary on college accreditation has new leaders.
Members of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted today to elect Arthur E. Keiser, chancellor and chief executive officer of Keiser University, as chair of the panel. Frank H. Wu, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, was elected vice-chair.
A CLIMATE CHANGE AT EPA
Newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to calm the nerves of the agency’s state-level workers during his first staff address Wednesday. Pruitt told staffers he has spoken with top agency officials to tout the importance of regional offices.
Regional staff make up about half of the EPA’s 15,000 workers, and one Trump transition official suggested the agency could cut as many as two-thirds of its total workforce in an attempt to give more regulatory power to the states.
President Trump’s pick to head the Commerce Department Wilbur Ross will get a confirmation vote next week. Senate leaders have scheduled the vote on Ross’s nomination for 7 p.m. Monday. The businessman was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in late January.