The Trump Administration has reached the unofficial (but much analyzed) 100-day mark, and the chattering class is working themselves into a lather trying to decide what has been accomplished or what failures have occurred. With apologies for our inability to resist the temptation, here’s our take:
- President Trump has done some things he promised during the campaign, like withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, rescind a number of Obama Administration regulations and generally talk tough on trade. He also got a conservative Supreme Court Justice confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia, although not without a change in Senate rules that eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.
- He did not succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – yet – and the momentum for comprehensive tax reform has slowed, changed direction or maybe even jumped the tracks.
- The Administration is behind the normal pace of filling key positions in a number of government agencies, which could hinder its ability to move forward on other initiatives. There has also been quite a bit of palace intrigue and rumored infighting among various staff in the White House, which consumes oxygen needed for getting things done.
Overall grade after 100 days: C+ (shows promise but needs improvement).
Congress, meanwhile, continues to lurch from one crisis to another. First the Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to fulfill a years-old pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare when the Freedom Caucus, made up of about three dozen conservative/libertarian members, refused to back the legislation offered by leadership. That led to the legislation being withdrawn, although negotiations continue.
The Senate, for its part, failed to live up to its much-heralded reputation as “the greatest deliberative body in the world” when Democrats refused to allow a vote on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, despite his having been previously confirmed unanimously to the U.S. Court of Appeals. When it became clear that there were not 60 votes to allow a vote on the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called “nuclear option,” changing Senate rules to require only a majority vote to proceed on Supreme Court nominations.
In the midst of all this, the Forging Industry Association continued its commitment to involvement in public policy with its 14th Annual Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. March 15-16. Despite a late-season snowstorm that blanketed the Northeast and snarled airline traffic across the country, 19 FIA members managed to make it to Capitol Hill to make their voices heard on issues of concern to the industry.
For the first time since the inception of FIA’s Lobby Day activities in 2004, the House Manufacturing Caucus sponsored a briefing for members on the forging industry, co-chaired by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-IL 14) and Mike Kelly (R-PA 3). Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA 5) and staff for Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA 7) also attended. FIA members spoke to the members and staff about the forging industry and the challenges it faces.
Attendees at this year’s Lobby Day also met with 49 House and Senate offices during the two days, talking to members of Congress and their staffs about key issues such as tax reform, trade, regulatory reform and workforce development. Lobby Day is a critical part of FIA’s public policy work, but the effort continues on a regular basis before and after each successful Lobby Day. The remainder of this year promises to be very busy, as Congress and the Administration increase efforts to improve the economy and speed up economic growth. FIA will be part of those debates on a routine basis.