Since taking helm as the 45th president, Donald Trump has continued to emphasize — for good or ill — his “America First” agenda: signing the sweeping tax cuts’ into law, pushing for financial regulatory rollbacks, promising to impose tariffs and taking steps to weaken the Affordable Care Act (though he pledged to repeal or replace it).
Not long after the tax cuts law kicked in, Trump touted that “over 3 million workers have gotten tax cut bonuses — many of them thousands and thousands of dollars,” but a recent Government Accountability Office report projects the tax cuts law would result in trillion-dollar deficits.
In a mid-April speech from the Rose Garden, Trump said it was imperative to call the tax overhaul “tax cuts” not tax reform, as “nobody knows what that means. That could mean a tax increase.”
In issuing his administration’s deregulatory agenda for 2018, Trump said that agencies “plan to finalize three deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action” in FY2018, and that during his administration, agencies withdrew or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions.
With investor protection always top of mind, it’s little wonder that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is among the top regulatory/political influencers this year. From standing up for the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule to cracking the whip on regulators to rein in Wells Fargo, to making sure investors get their unpaid arbitration awards, Warren hasn’t backed down.
In early 2018, Warren has taken new Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell to task to ensure Wells Fargo’s multi-pronged remediation efforts stay on track. She’s also introduced legislation to require that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority set up a pool funded by penalties from its broker-dealer members to pay unpaid final arbitration awards — which are piling up — and require the self-regulator to track whether future arbitration awards are paid.
The force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — who was appointed by former President Barack Obama to set up the agency after the Dodd-Frank Act officially created it, Warren has continued to fight back against the current administration’s attempts to dismantle the agency.
During National Women’s History Month in March, Warren told TIME magazine that the month is about “recognizing the courage and contributions of women everywhere who are breaking down barriers, raising their voices, and fighting for what they believe in.” Millions of women, she said, have taken up the “Nevertheless, She Persisted” rallying cry that took hold during last year’s celebration “because they know that together, we can make change. We know because we are doing it.”
While House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., surprised his lawmaker colleagues in mid-April by announcing he would not run for re-election, the reluctant politician maintains that he’s “not done yet,” and that he intends to finish the year and continue to “keep fighting” for entitlement reform.
Ryan said during a mid-April press briefing that the Congress had “accomplished so much since” he took over in 2015 for former House Speaker John Boehner, with the most important accomplishment being the “major reform” of the tax code.
“You realize something when you take this job: It’s a big job with a lot riding on you, and you feel it. But you also know that this is a job that does not last forever,” Ryan said.
Noting that it’s his 20th year in Congress, Ryan said it was time to spend more time with his three teenage kids, adding that the chance that he would not become speaker come the midterm elections in November did not factor into his decision to not seek re-election. “I’ve really accomplished much of what I came here to do,” he said.
Entitlement reform, Ryan said, “is the one other great thing” that he’s spent his career working on. While the House passed “the biggest entitlement reform bill ever considered in the House of Representatives,” Ryan said he regretted the fact that the Senate failed to pass the bill.
— Read the profiles of the 2018 IA 25 winners in the other five categories: