Senate Judiciary Plans Swift Sessions Confirmation Process


The United States could get a new attorney general and Alabama a new U.S. Senator as early as January.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Senate Republicans are planning to move quickly on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as attorney general under the Donald Trump administration. With Sen. Sessions’ confirmation and resignation from the Senate, Governor Bentley will appoint an interim Alabama senator.

Sen. Grassley said he will move the Sessions nomination through his panel and plans to hold confirmation hearings before Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Grassley said previous attorney general nominees for presidents-elect – such as John Ashcroft for George W. Bush and Eric Holder for Barack Obama – had their confirmation hearings before the president was formally sworn into office.

“It would be my intention to move ahead in that procedure,” Sen. Grassley said, according to Politico. He met with Sessions on Tuesday, kicking off the traditional meet-and-greet process that Cabinet nominees hold with senators during the confirmation process. Sen. Grassley also praised Sessions, calling him a “very honorable man” and a “man of integrity.”

The committee has already sent the nominee questionnaire to Sessions, and Grassley urged his colleague to return the completed document “very quickly” so he could schedule the confirmation hearing. Sen. Grassley said that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is reported to have said that Sessions will get a fair hearing. “I’m sure that’s going to be true for both Republicans and Democrats’, he said.”


The Obama White House is engaged in a frenzied, final effort to put in place as many new rules and regulations as time allows despite the probability that future President Donald Trump will use his pen to nullify many of them.

President Obama, who has been using executive and regulatory actions because he has been unable to get Congress to pass laws, leaves office on Jan. 20. “This administration has been particularly aggressive in the last year to 18 months in finalizing its particular regulatory priorities,” said Rosario Palmieri, vice president of labor, legal and regulatory policy at the National Association of Manufacturers.

Republicans are already warning that they will reverse some of the rules Obama will issue during the last months of his presidency but White House officials are determined to move ahead, reasoning that having more rules in place will force the new administration to choose which ones are worth the time and effort of reversal.

As a candidate, Donald Trump vowed to dismantle some of President Obama’s key achievements. Given the fact that each rule reversal takes up 10 hours of floor time in the Senate and that senators must also confirm key political nominees and pass a budget, it’s estimated that Congress is likely to overturn between five and seven of Obama’s last rules.

Even before this final flurry of activity, Obama will already have enacted 54 percent more economically significant rules by Nov. 17 than George W. Bush did during his entire two terms, according to data from Daniel Pérez, a policy analyst at the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University. An “economically significant” rule is defined as one that produces at least $100 million worth of economic impact.


Following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States and even before the Carrier deal was announced keeping the manufacturer in Indiana, the National Association of Manufacturers released a letter from more than 1,100 manufacturing and business leaders pledging to help bring the country together after a divisive election.

The Business Council of Alabama and members signed the letter.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons also pledged manufacturers’ efforts to find ways to work with the president-elect and the 115th Congress on the pressing issues facing the country. “It’s time for healing, and that work must begin now,” Timmons said after Trump’s election as 45th president.

“Manufacturing and business leaders from across the country have pledged to rebuild trust in our democratic and economic institutions so that we can ensure our exceptional country offers abundant opportunity to all,” Timmons said. “At the same time, we will celebrate and defend the values that make our nation great; chief among those are free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.”

Timmons said manufacturers expect our newly elected leaders to worry less about the powerful political extremes and concern themselves solely with solutions that will lift all Americans up and leave no one behind. “This election makes clear that Americans agree that manufacturing is the nation’s priority,” he said. “They want our industry to lead the world and create more jobs.”


Obamacare Repeal on Fast Track
Roll Call (McPherson 11/29) “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that the Republicans’ plan for repealing the 2010 health care law is moving forward with the anticipated use of an expedited budget process early next year. The move would mimic a plan that Republicans used to try to gut the law in 2015 but that President Barack Obama vetoed. Though President-elect Donald Trump is expected to sign a repeal bill into law, McCarthy indicated that the process, known as reconciliation and designed to avoid Senate filibusters, would not be employed to develop a plan to replace the health law.

“‘Repealing is easier and faster because that can be a 51-vote’,” the California Republican said in an interview with the Washington Post’s James Hohmann. “Replacing, that is going to be 60 votes.”

“McCarthy declined to set a time frame for Congress passing a replacement plan, saying that it’s important to get it done right and that ‘it’s not going to be easy’. As part of the effort, McCarthy said he is sending out letters this week to all governors and insurance commissioners for their thoughts on how to replace the law. McCarthy compared choice in health care to choice in cable. The majority leader said he likes that there are a variety of cable companies and that he can tailor a package to fit his own needs. ‘Why can’t we have health care in a manner that we can do something to that extent?’ he said.”


Administration Will Appeal Court Order Blocking Overtime Rule
The Hill (Wheeler 12/1) “The Obama administration is appealing a Texas judge’s decision to temporarily block a contentious overtime rule from taking effect. The Justice Department – on behalf of the Department of Labor – filed a notice of appeal Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

“Texas District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a temporary injunction last month to stop the rule from taking effect Dec. 1. It would have forced employers to pay overtime to most salaried workers earning less than $47,476 annually. The salary cutoff for overtime pay now stands at $23,660. Mazzant, who was nominated to the court by President Obama, said the preliminary injunction was needed while the rule is being challenged in court. Dozens of businesses and 21 state attorneys general are fighting it.

“In a statement following the court order earlier this month, the Department of Labor stood behind its rule: ‘We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule’.”