David Regan, NADA: Trump administration, regulatory reform
President Trumpês greatest focus in the first 150 days of his presidency has been on easing the regulatory burden on the business community, said David Regan, executive vice president of legislative affairs for NADA. To that end, 13 rules enacted under President Obama have been repealed by Congress and cannot be put back in place. One of several presenters at WANADAês Automotive Law Briefing on June 15, 2017, Regan covered hot button regulatory and congressional developments.
We need congressional overreach to correct regulatory overreach, said Regan. This administration is willing to listen, he said.
As for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a bill recently passed by the House and supported by NADA rolls back some of the agencyês power. If the bill passes the Senate (which Regan admitted is a more challenging prospect), the CFPB would be subject to annual appropriations and the director would be appointed by and could be fired by the president. The current director, Richard Cordray, has announced plans to run for governor of Ohio, and President Trump will appoint his successor when Cordray leaves in the next year.
In Congress, big ticket issues such as tax reform and health care are very contentious, Regan said. Even though the Republicans have nominal control of both houses, there is no consensus on these issues within the party.
Before tax reform can be passed, Congress needs to pass a federal debt extension and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. That means that tax reform could pass the Senate with a 51-vote margin instead of the 60 votes needed to avoid filibuster. But under reconciliation, the law expires 10 years after passage.
Itês politically impossible to do tax reform without that, Regan said. I think it will happen.
Regan thinks Congress is more likely to take an incremental rather than a comprehensive approach to tax reform, simply to ensure passage. The current plan is for dramatically reduced tax rates but very few preferences. House Speaker Paul Ryan has pushed a border adjustment tax, which would impose a 25 percent tax on imports resulting in an estimated 25- to 50-cent increase in gasoline prices alone. The auto industry and large retailers such as Walmart have strongly opposed a BAT, and Regan said the legislation appears clinically dead. BATês advantage is that it would raise $1.2 trillion a year. With no BAT, that money must be found elsewhere to pay for tax cuts.
As for health care reform, Regan said the Senate is working on a tight deadline to pass its own health care bill, which he said only about six people in Washington have seen. With no committee hearings and no public disclosure of its details, the Senate hopes to pass the bill before the July 4 recess and have it signed before the August recess.
A big point of contention on health care reform is pre-existing conditions, which Regan called the third rail in politics. If an individual is uninsured for a period, getting insured with pre-existing conditions will become more expensive. There will be a fund to buy down the cost, but itês not clear if there will be enough money in that fund, or, alternately, if the states have the money to pay for it.Download Bulletin PDF