New Administration Updates and Resources

Clark Hill’s Government & Regulatory Affairs team will be working to keep you informed on events as they move quickly over the next month.

January 25, 2021

President Joe Biden has a new set of executive orders for this week, with today’s EO dealing with buying American-made goods.

The “Made-in-America” EO:

  • Directs agencies to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements.
  • Appoints a new senior leader at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in charge of the government’s Made-in-America policy approach.
  • Increases oversight of potential waivers to domestic preference laws.
  • Connects new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies.
  • Reiterates the President’s strong support for the Jones Act.
  • Directs a cross-agency review of all domestic preferences.

Additional details on each of these actions are in this fact sheet. A breakdown of the other actions expected for the rest of the week can be found here from The Hill.

 

January 21, 2021 

Following a flurry of executive orders yesterday (all of which are listed below), President Joe Biden will sign more executive actions today. Attached is the briefing document with the 10 EOs and other actions that President Biden will take today in response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as Biden’s national strategy for the COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness.

Biden last night also announced the acting agency leadership across the administration. Nearly all of the individuals are career civil servants, and they will temporarily lead the federal agencies until their respective Cabinet nominee is confirmed by the Senate. The Senate last night confirmed Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the only Biden Cabinet nominee to be confirmed so far.

Acting Agency Leadership

  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), David Cohen
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Dave Uejio
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Kevin Shea
  • Department of Commerce (DOC), Wynn Coggins
  • Department of Defense (DOD), David Norquist
  • Department of Education (ED), Phil Rosenfelt
  • Department of Energy (DOE), David Huizenga
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Norris Cochran
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS), David Pekoske
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Matt Ammonn
  • Department of Interior (DOI), Scott de la Vega
  • Department of Justice (DOJ), Monty Wilkinson
  • Department of Labor (DOL), Al Stewart
  • Department of State (DOS), Dan Smith
  • Department of Transportation (DOT), Lana Hurdle
  • Department of Treasury (USDT), Andy Baukol
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dat Tran
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Jane Nishida
  • General Services Administration (GSA), Katy Kale
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Steve Jurczyk
  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Ann Eilers
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Adam Wolfson
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Rob Fairweather
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDP), Regina LaBelle
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Kathy McGettigan
  • Peace Corps, Carol Spahn
  • Small Business Administration (SBA), Tami Perriello
  • Social Security Administration (SSA), Andrew Saul
  • U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), Kelu Chao
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Gloria Steele
  • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Dev Jagadesan
  • U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN), Rich Mills
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Maria Pagan

Presidential Executive Orders

  • Organizing and mobilizing the United States Government to provide a unified and effective response to combat COVID-19 and to provide United States leadership on global health and security
  • Protecting the federal workforce and requiring mask-wearing
  • Protecting public health and the environment and restoring science to tackle the climate crisis
  • Advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government
  • Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States
  • Memorandum to the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security on DACA
  • Revision of civil immigration enforcement policies and priorities
  • Preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Termination of Emergency with respect to the southern border of the United States and Redirection of funds diverted to border wall construction
  • Memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies regarding modernizing regulatory review
  • Revocation of certain executive orders concerning Federal regulation
  • Ensuring a lawful and accurate enumeration and apportionment pursuant to the decennial census
  • Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
  • Ethic Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel

Other Relevant Updates

  • Memorandum from OMB acting director to multiple departments and agencies regarding the release of funds Withheld from Obligation Pursuant to Special Message dated January 14, 2021
  • Memorandum from Ron Klain, Chief of Staff regarding Regulatory Freeze Pending Review
  • Extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on USDA Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loans (SFHDLP and SFHGLP) and extension of CDC eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021
  • Pausing federal student loan payments until September 30, 2021
  • Rejoining Paris Climate Agreement

The Congress

While President Biden continues to hope for bi-partisan legislation to address COVID needs early in this year, Democrats on Capitol Hill have signaled an effort to devise a Budget Resolution that will set out very broad parameters to use Budget Reconciliation (which fast tracks measures through the Senate by a simple majority only) on the COVID package.  While this has been used 25 times in the past in previous Congresses, what is new is that the plan may well be used – for the first time – to pass discretionary spending (aka appropriations) and some policy measures not related directly to spending and revenue (e.g., a higher minimum wage).  A good assessment of this can be found in an article in this morning’s Roll Call.  No doubt if the Democrats do elect to use these fast track procedures, it will create political fireworks and potentially has broader implications as it would seek to avoid ending the Senate filibuster at least for some measures shielded through a Reconciliation designation.  It is not the first option that will be explored, but if things stall, it will surely not be far behind the initial discussions.

The Senate – now a 50-50 body with VP Harris as the potentially deciding vote – has yet to adopt its organizing rules in the new Congress as Majority Leader Schumer and GOP Leader McConnell have yet to reach an agreement.  This will delay the organization of the various Committees who will be involved in drafting the measures sought by the new Administration to tackle Covid.  No doubt this will get settled in the coming days, but it adds an additional complication for the new Administration to hit the ground running.  New Senate Democratic Caucus rules that govern the eligibility of “A” Committee Chairs to simultaneously hold Subcommittee Chairs has the potential to create major upheaval on the Appropriations Committee, where 5 Full Committee chairs also hold or are scheduled to hold, Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs (i.e., the latter group often referred to as “the College of Cardinals”). 

Meanwhile all of the Biden Cabinet nominees are in some state of being considered for confirmation other than the Director of National Intelligence, who was confirmed last night by an overwhelming majority in the Senate.

 

January 20, 2021 - Biden Administration Day One Actions

President Biden has planned an extensive list of actions to take place during the first week of the new administration and in the coming month. We have outlined these actions in part below, including 17 Executive Orders (EO) which will be issued. For many of these actions, this signals the “beginning of the beginning” in the process to implement their intent fully.  Some will occur with Executive Branch regulatory action (subject to judicial review) and others will require legislation by the Congress. 

Apart from the 17 EOs, other EOs and actions for Biden’s first month are set to include:

COVID

  • Issue mask mandate EO
  • Create White House office for Covid
  • Rejoin WHO
  • Supply chain EO to invoke Defense Production Act
  • EO fully reimbursing states for using the National Guard for Covid-19
  • “Safe Travel EO,” which will mandate mask-wearing on some modes of public transportation (“airports, aircraft, trains, public maritime vessels, intercity buses, and all forms of public transportation”)
  • Direct agencies to “strengthen efforts to combat COVID-19 globally and strengthen global pandemic preparedness
  • Create a “Pandemic Test Board” and direct “HHS to support states’ efforts to deploy public health personnel to combat COVID-19”
  • Boost “pandemic related data collection and transparency”
  • EO directing “actions to support research into novel COVID-19 treatment, secure an adequate supply, and promote equitable distribution.”

Climate

  • Issue climate “rollback” EO, which includes revoking Keystone Pipeline permit and rejoining Paris Climate Agreement
  • “Omnibus Domestic and International Climate EO: initiates series of regulatory actions to combat climate change domestically and elevates climate change as a national security priority”
  • Scientific Integrity PM: Directs science and evidence-based decision-making in federal agencies
  • “PCAST Executive Order: re-establishes Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology”
  • Announce the Climate Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the United States on April 22

Economy

  • Extend eviction and foreclosure moratorium and student loan forbearance
  • Economic relief EO, which will direct “agency action on Medicaid; Pell grants; SNAP; and unemployment insurance”
  • Federal workplace EO to restore “collective bargaining rights to federal employees" and it will "initiates action to roll back Trump administration’s Schedule F EO”
  • “Buy American EO” aimed at directing “agencies to strengthen requirements for procuring goods and services from sources that will support U.S. businesses and workers”

Equity

  • Rescind Trump federal workforce EO
  • Repeal Muslim travel ban
  • “Pause” construction on the border wall while cutting off money
  • Rescind the Trump ban on transgender military service and deferred enforced departure for Liberians
  • Move forward on DACA
  • Issue racial equality EO
  • Rescind Trump Census EO
  • Create “policing commission and reinstate Obama-Biden policies governing the transfer of military-style equipment to local law enforcement”
  • Prison EO to “take steps to improve prison conditions and begin to eliminate the use of private [prisons]”
  • Memorandum directing “agencies to strengthen engagement with tribal governments”
  • Memorandum to direct “HUD to take steps to promote equitable housing politics”
  • EO to disavow “discrimination against the AAPI community, particularly in light of rhetoric around the COVID-19 pandemic”
  • DOJ prosecutorial and sentencing EO
  • Voting rights/civil rights EO

Government Process 

  • Issue ethics EO
  • “Freeze” Trump regulations for review

Health Care

  • Rescind the Mexico City Policy and review the Title X domestic gag rule
  • EO that will take “steps to strengthen Medicaid and initiate an open enrollment period under the ACA”

Immigration

  • EO on regional migration and the border
  • EO to establish “the principles that will guide the Administration’s implementation of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) and directs a series of actions to enhance USRAP’s capacity to fairly, efficiently, and security process refugee applications”
  • EO to create a “task force to reunify families separated by the Trump Administration’s Immigration policies”
  • EO for “immediate review of the Public Charge Rule and other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.”

February: Restoring America’s Place in the World

  • EO to direct agencies to “recruit and retain employees to confront 21st Century challenges, including through reskilling, professional development, and possible reserve corps to fill mission-critical gaps”
  • “Forever wars'' executive order, which will initiate a “review of CT operations and options to [responsibly] reduce such operations; reinstates transparency measures on civilian casualties; reinstates the policy of closing GITMO; initiates a process to migrate substantial use of force operations to Title 10”
  • Memorandum to strengthen U.S. efforts to promote human rights of LGBTQ people overseas
  • NSC meeting at State Department

To view more detailed information please click on the links below.

Fact Sheet- Inauguration Day EOs

List of Agency Actions for Review