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The Start of the Trump Administration – Hurry Up and Wait

The Trump Administration is off to a fast start issuing several executive orders in its the first few days, including a freeze on any federal rules or regulations that have not been approved (meaning those developed during the Obama Administration).

Not all cabinet heads of Departments or Agencies have been confirmed by the Senate, at this writing. Instead, some cabinet departments and agencies are being run by “Acting Secretaries” or “Acting Administrators.” These “Acting” positions are filled by Obama Administration holdovers or career public servants.

In the meantime, Washington is in a sort of time-out while the political appointees are being confirmed. Additionally, there are many layers of political appointees below the Secretary level that must also be confirmed for the wheels of government begin to turn again in earnest. Senate Democrats have indicated that they will not move quickly to confirm any nominees, particularly those whose financial information or other paperwork is incomplete.

This does not mean that Social Security checks won’t get mailed. It does mean that agencies with regulatory authority – think EPA – cannot promulgate new rules until after the head of department or agency is confirmed. So, even with the quick pace of the Trump Administration since January 20, 2017, the wheels of government will not be spinning full-speed for some time.

Some of the issues on hold that impact the scrap recycling industry are the suspension of the mutilated coin redemption program at the U.S. Mint, the scrap steel exemption petition at the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the crumb rubber study at EPA. ISRI has already provided comments to the STB and worked with EPA (on crumb rubber).

Congress is also on a slow ramp-up as new Members come to town and committees organize, many with new Chairmen and/or Ranking Minority members. The House of Representatives is developing tax plans and infrastructure spending legislation. But the Republican led Congress is in a virtual standstill on legislation while it awaits input from the new Administration.

The message from Washington is while things are in a flurry of activity, the real work is still a few weeks away. Stay tuned!

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