Rosenstein denied that, but Trump has been receptive to requests from local police. Experts are still picking through all of the information , but a few broad themes are clear: Trump intends a far less active regulatory state than Obama, proposing fewer rules and more deregulatory actions, wiping Obama-era rules off the books. In some cases, the absence of a rule is telling: The Agriculture Department, for instance, dropped multiple rules on organic products that were close to being finalized during the Obama administration. But on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was granting businesses an additional 15, H-2B visas for low-skilled, non-agricultural workers for fiscal Critics called the provision a back -door increase in foreign labor, allowing Washington to further undercut American workers, and hoped that the Trump administration would not use its new authority.
But DHS determined that 15, extra visas were needed. Selling rice to China Trump blasted China for its trade practices during the presidential campaign but as president, the U. And this week, you can add rice to that list. Of course, the trade relationship has some real sticking points. For instance, this week, the sides were unable to agree on a one-year plan on trade at the U. And Trump is expected to infuriate China by signing off on steep steel tariffs in the near future.
No more traveling to North Korea The death in June of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, after 18 months of captivity in North Korea sent shock waves across the United States and provoked outrage from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, with many calling for a ban on travel to the North.
Warmbier was convicted in to 15 years of hard labor after attempting to steal a poster from his hotel room. Two months into his sentence, he suffered a severe head injury; in June, North Korea released a comatose Warmbier to his family in the United States. He died a few days later. The goal was clear: block Trump from weakening the standards. On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began the process to write fuel efficiency regulations for years , seeking comment on an upcoming environmental review.
It may also go back a year and review the fuel efficiency standards, which NHTSA issued in So while the EPA attempted to lock in the standards through its January rule, NHTSA must still go through a full rule-making process on its own to set the fuel economy standards, giving Trump an opening to weaken those rules. The new policy , released Tuesday, imposes new restrictions on cities that receive certain grants from the DOJ. Will that actually happen?
The effort represented a top second-term priority for Obama—a unilateral attempt to give American workers a raise. The rule was intended to impose stronger safety measures on fracking on public lands, requiring producers to safely store waste fluids and disclose what chemicals they use.
But the rule never actually took effect, due to lawsuits from the oil and gas industry. The Obama administration heavily promoted the program, but myRA never garnered much interest: Only about 20, people have opened accounts since it launched at the end of Democrats are refusing to vote for any bill that includes border wall money. But the Trump administration is continuing to take steps to build an actual, physical wall.
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a notice that it was waiving more than three dozen environmental laws in order to build border wall prototypes along a mile border in the vicinity of San Diego, California. Trump targets a major financial regulation In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, a law intended to protect consumers, tighten up oversight of banks and prevent another deep recession.
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Republicans for years have complained that the law was unduly harsh, discouraging banks from lending and contributing to the slow economic recovery. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent agency currently run by a cting Director Keith Noreika, who Trump appointed in May, requested comments on revising the Volcker r ule, a clear sign that he intends to change the underlying regulation. Despite its seeming straightforward nature, the rule is incredibly complicated, running pages and crafted by four agencies, along with the OCC.
The Obama administration had intended to spread different aspects of loan management—such as consolidation, financial reporting, and default—among multiple companies. The move sparked an immediate backlash from Democrats, and some Republicans, who said competition was needed to ensure that servicers had the best interest of students at heart. This week, DeVos abandoned those plans, canceling a solicitation for bids to manage the loan portfolio.
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The agency is accepting comments for 60 days and will issue a final decision soon thereafter. The FDA makes a mixed move on tobacco In May , the Food and Drug Administration in a landmark move imposed the first real rules on electronic cigarettes, banning their sale to people under the age of 18 and requiring companies to apply to the FDA for approval of the product.
Democrats cheered the announcement for instituting long-overdue oversight of the industry while Republicans said it was misguided, potentially causing Americans to smoke regular cigarettes over the electronic versions. Earlier this year, the FDA extended that deadline by three months. That looked like a rollback of tobacco restrictions—but at the same time, the agency said it would examine whether to lower the amount of nicotine in traditional cigarettes, a surprise announcement that worried the tobacco industry. The dual changes split the traditional party-line approach to tobacco regulation—Democrats in favor of it, Republicans against—and are sure to set up a knockdown fight with the industry if the FDA really does decide to reduce nicotine levels.
Stay tuned. Interior relaxes Obama-era sage grouse rules In September , the Obama administration announced new protections for the sage grouse, a bird whose habitat happens to cover some of the most resource-rich lands in the American West. The administration declined to list the bird on the endangered species list—a big victory for oil and gas companies—but the new conservation plan included strong measures to protect sage grouse habitat. This week, the Interior Department, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, began rolling back the conservation plan, directing the Bureau of Land Management to shrink the buffer zones between sage grouse breeding grounds, among other changes.
Environmentalists slammed the move, saying it jeopardized the carefully crafted Obama-era compromise between oil and gas interests and environmental groups. The changes were designed to ensure that the EPA examines chemicals for their likely real-world impact, instead of narrowly evaluating them on the specific uses for which they were intended. In a surprise, the EPA will first assess chemicals based only on their intended use—similar to how the agency operated before passage of the new law. In other words, new chemicals may still be approved while the EPA is reviewing their potential further impact—the exact outcome lawmakers were trying to avoid.
The change is a big victory for industry groups, which wanted a lighter touch approach to regulation. Pruitt also announced Monday that the agency had cleared a backlog of new chemicals awaiting approval—another move that drew praise from the chemical industry and strong rebukes from consumer groups. The Obama-era DOJ had argued that the Ohio law discriminated against minorities and thus violated federal voting laws, but in a filing on Monday, the department said it had reconsidered its position and determined that the Ohio voting roll purge was legal.
Since the election, Trump has repeatedly claimed—without evidence—that millions of people cast illegal ballots, allowing Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote. In response, he created a commission to investigate voter fraud, led by controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which has done little so far. In addition, the Justice Department in February dropped its opposition to a Texas voter ID law, a major shift that signaled the priorities of the new administration.
The concern was that many advisers were pushing investments with a higher commission for the adviser, rather than a better return for the client. It was assumed to be doomed under the new administration, but Democrats enjoyed a brief moment of celebration in May when Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he would allow the rule to take effect in early June. It now appears the celebration was premature.
This week, in a court filing , the Labor Department revealed that it had sent a rule to the White House for review that would delay full implementation of the fiduciary rule for 18 months, until July 1, —enough time for the Trump administration to make significant changes or repeal it altogether. The nuclear waste storage fight warms up Where should America stash its spent nuclear fuel?
Then, in June, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced that he was reconstituting the key office that oversaw the Nevada site for long-term waste storage, setting off protests from Nevada lawmakers and forcing Perry to walk back some of this comments. This fight is just getting underway. The State Department set up a program to allow the children of parents who are lawfully present in the U. The goal was to reduce the flow of unaccompanied children without leaving them in danger.
On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security immediately ended the parole component of that program; DHS canceled the approvals of 2, kids who had been conditionally approved for parole but had not received final signoff.
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The program was small—about 1, kids had been paroled and entered the United States—but had still angered immigration hawks who said it was too generous to the children. The exact reasons for the drop are unknown, but the parole program may have been part of the reason. The children are still eligible to apply for refugee status without crossing into the U. The end of an Obama health care payment experiment While most of the attention on Obamacare has focused on the individual insurance market and the Medicaid expansion, the law also tests numerous ideas to lower the spiraling cost of health care.
If the hospital could perform the procedure for a lower cost, it kept the difference.
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If not, it lost money. The Obama administration had begun testing the concept of bundled payments through a few different programs—with mandatory participation by hospitals that take Medicare money. The mandated participation always irked Tom Price, the former congressman and current secretary of Health and Human Services, and this week, he significantly scaled back those programs.
Hospitals will no longer be required to participate in a bundled payment program for certain joint replacements in many markets. Two yet-to-launch bundled care programs—an expansion of the existing joint replacements program and a new program for heart attacks and cardiac surgeries—were canceled altogether. But it does scale back one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act, which was keeping costs under control, and signals that Price, a former physician, will be less aggressive in forcing the new payment system on hospitals, a victory for doctors who are critical of the new payment plans and a defeat for health officials seeking a rapid transition.
This week, EPA said it would reconsider two more rules, one on the toxic discharges from coal plants and another on emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks. The idea was to pressure banks, as potential facilitators of potential financial crimes, to cease doing business with those companies. The program, officially called Operation Choke Point, was heavily criticized by Republicans who said DOJ was targeting legal businesses that the Obama administration just happened to dislike, like payday lenders and gun retailers, without any evidence of wrongdoing.
A flurry of small trade deals In the trade world, all eyes were on Washington where American, Canadian and Mexican officials converged for the first session on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. In Colombia, Pence announced that the Colombian government would lift restrictions on a certain type of U.
In Argentina, Pence inked a deal to allow the export of U. But experts also suggested another motive: isolating North Korea. Egypt has historically had ties to North Korea, with North Korean pilots training Egyptian pilots in the s. We have a lot of areas of close cooperation. The move also created troubles for White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who was scheduled to meet top Egyptian leaders, including Sisi, this week to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Interior could shrink national monuments In his final weeks in office, Obama protected over 1. Republican lawmakers, oil and gas interests and fishing and hunting groups blasted the move and appealed to Trump to review the designations.
In April, they got their wish when Trump directed the Interior Department to review all monument designations larger than , acres all the way back to The New York Times later reported that Zinke recommended shrinking at least four monuments. And if it does, it would be historic—no national monument has been shrunk by a president since The White House changes American research priorities Every year, the government funds billions of dollars in research, from large National Institutes of Health grants to small housing experiments.
The sheer magnitude of money gives the government great influence over the direction of research across industries, a hidden lever for a sophisticated administration to guide the country well into the future. This week, the Trump administration revealed that it intends to use that lever. But these priorities can eventually have big policy implications as researchers focus on certain issues and ignore others.
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Republicans and Democrats alike have rejected those cuts, so they will not become law. Last week, he wrote, "Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Despite those attacks, Amazon had no problem receiving approval from regulators to acquire the grocery giant Whole Foods. The quick approval also assuaged concerns that Trump would attempt to interfere in the regulatory review for political reasons.
The deal is set to close on Monday.
Amazon promptly announced that it will cut prices on a wide array of Whole Foods products, from avocados to tilapia, on Monday and intends to introduce benefits at Whole Foods stores for its Prime members.