In Congress: Votes on several Cabinet nominees Expected

Today the Senate is scheduled to resume legislative business with an afternoon vote scheduled on the nomination of Rex Tillerson to serve as the Secretary of State under President Trump. On Tuesday, the Senate will take up the nomination of Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to serve as the Secretary of Transportation.

Votes on several other Cabinet nominees can be expected throughout the week as the nominations are reported by their respective Senate committees. On Monday, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Linda McMahon to serve as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary. The nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to serve as attorney general is expected to be considered by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. That same day the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on the nominations of Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., to serve as Interior Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as the Secretary of Energy. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee plans to meet on Wednesday to consider the nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Also on Wednesday, David Shulkin is scheduled to appear before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee regarding his nomination to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Congress this Week.

The Senate this week will continue to move forward on the consideration of the New and 45th president’s cabinet picks while committees on both sides of the Capitol begin to conduct their formal organizational proceedings for the 115th Congress.

On Monday members will take up 11 legislative measures under suspension of the rules, all within the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which had reported them in the last Congress.

On Tuesday, the House will consider three additional bills under suspension of the rules before considering H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. Identical to a bill passed by the House early in the 114th Congress, the legislation would broaden the existing language of the Hyde Amendment and ban the use of any federal funds to pay for abortions. Consideration of H.R. 7 will be subject to a rule.

The Senate will resume legislative business on Monday when members will debate and vote on the nomination of Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Senate floor schedule for the remainder of the week is unclear, but look for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule votes on other cabinet nominees as they are reported by their respective Senate committees. Several committees have scheduled votes throughout the week. On Monday afternoon, the Foreign Relations Committee will vote on the nomination of Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State. On Tuesday, the Banking Committee will meet to consider the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. That same morning the Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to serve as attorney general. A meeting of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to consider the nomination of Betsy DeVos scheduled for this week has been postponed.

Other Senate committees will continue to review the qualifications of President Trump’s cabinet appointees. The Finance Committee is scheduled to resume its consideration of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Much of the first day of the Price hearing was given over to questions about the nominee’s stock trading. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., whom the president has tapped to serve as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, is scheduled to appear before two Senate committees on Tuesday; in the morning, he will provide testimony to the Budget Committee before an afternoon appearance before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Rep. Mulvaney is dogged by questions over his failure to pay requisite taxes for a household employee from before he was elected to Congress, and some Democrats have called for his nomination to be withdrawn. The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hear testimony from Linda McMahon of Connecticut on her nomination to serve as the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Also on the schedule this week, and in keeping with the Republican initiative currently underway to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the House Budget Committee is set to host a Tuesday hearing regarding the “Failures of Obamacare.” The hearing will be the first under its new chairman, Diane Black, R-Tenn., who was named to succeed Rep. Price following his nomination to serve as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

On both sides of the Capitol, a number of committees are meeting for the first time this week to organize for the 115th Congress and adopt the rules for official proceedings. The full schedule of events for the week ahead is detailed below.

The election of Donald Trump creates a drastic shift in government relations strategies in DC.

With a new year, companies and not for profits should be reevaluating their government affairs programs just as they will review their tax, marketing and financial planning. More significantly, this year, a new U.S. government will form, and a new presidential administration commence.

U.S. and foreign businesses and industries should accordingly carefully review their government relations, lobbying, and public affairs strategies in Washington, DC. Companies that have engaged in government relations during the Obama years now need to fully re-write their government relations plan in a city soon to be led by President Donald J. Trump. Those engaging in government affairs for the first time need to move fast.

Trump’s executive team promises to be very different in governing philosophy, public policy, and management than President Obama’s team; but based on Trump’s cabinet picks; it will be substantially different than President Bush’s as well.

Based on that absolute shift, business and industry must reevaluate its government relations strategy for 2017. With a new pro-business focus, no company or industry will want to be on the sidelines for the next four years. Those businesses that have existing government affairs efforts in Washington need to reassess and revise old plans and write a new ones. And those that want to engage in a first-time government relations program need to get in the game now. Based on President-elect Trump’s cabinet choices thus far, the policy and management differences with the outgoing Obama Administration will be substantial; aimed at systemic change in nearly every area of government policy that affects business:


  • Appropriations, budget, tax, trade
  • Energy, oil/gas, renewable energy, energy management
  • Transportation, infrastructure, air and shipping transport
  • FCC and telecom
  • Financial services, Dodd Frank, digital assets
  • Healthcare, life sciences, pharma, medical technology
  • Gaming, hospitality
  • Education
  • Municipality
  • Labor, immigration
  • Ocean technology, environment, climate
  • Internet, cyber, privacy, social media
  • National security & defense
  • International Relations


Thus, if your company has had a government relations effort during the Obama Administration, then a re-evaluation is critical because what was advocated by the U.S. government between 2009-2016 will now be substantially dismantled and replaced with a new governing philosophy and public policy agenda.

For instance, President-elect Trump has chosen conservative U.S. Rep. Tom Price to serve as his Secretary of Health and Human Services and to overhaul the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Obamacare). Price is the former chair of the Republican Study Committee, the group of movement conservative members of the House of Representatives. Moreover, in 2013, he introduced in Congress a substantive bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Trump’s choice of Price to head HHS will stand in exact contrast to the political ideology and pro- ACA position of the current HHS Secretary, Sylvia Burwell.

Other members of his cabinet also come from a more conservative, pro-growth, limited government, less government regulation philosophy including Governor Rick Perry, as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Andrew Puzder, CEO, Hardee’s, to be Secretary of Labor, Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma, to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Linda McMahon, a principal with the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, as the new Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Dr. Ben Carson, the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. Rep. Rep. Ryan Zinke, the next Secretary of the Interior, United States Marine Corps General James Mattis (ret.) as Secretary of Defense and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

To be fully prepared, companies need to take the time necessary to strategize a new plan, hire the right professionals in Washington, identify the right issues for the company, and be a ready to educate the “new” U.S.  Federal  government.

Duane Morris Government Strategies has a Washington, DC-based government relations and lobbying office for U.S. and foreign companies, organizations, and governments that want to develop a more professional and interactive relationship with the U.S. federal government; Congress, the Executive Branch and regulatory agencies.

We can assist with congressional relations, regulatory affairs, developing positive brand equity for your company throughout the U.S. government, business to government (b2g) contracts, lobbying on specific legislative or regulatory issues, advising on current policy and political developments, and assisting with industry associations where your company is a member. We can provide a comprehensive, substantive and personalized suite of U.S. government affairs services for a cost-effective and competitive budget.