Buckle Up. Latest on the Make-Up of the New Trump Administration

By NRPA Public Policy Team | Posted on December 15, 2016

2016 December Trump Transition 410

The transition efforts for President-elect Trump’s administration are well underway, and many questions remain as to what type of administration we can expect to see on our priority issues.    

What/Who We Know

Each of these individuals must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate prior to serving as senior administration officials.

Health and Wellness/HHS

Rep. Tom Price, (R-GA), has been selected to lead Health and Human Services. Rep. Price has led the charge against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is expected to quarterback the administration's efforts to repeal and replace ACA. This will lead to significant uncertainty in our health care industry, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of our GDP.

Closer to home, this will affect prevention and public health spending, which park and recreation agencies, researchers, and health practitioners have accessed to fund a number of programs to fight obesity and chronic disease, halt the spread of infectious disease, and improve nutrition. Repealing the ACA will also impact rules and regulations governing the provision of healthcare for part-time and seasonal employees. Unraveling this law will take significant legislative and regulatory effort, so prospects of immediate action are unlikely to be realized.

Department of the Interior

The President-elect has tapped Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) as the next Secretary of the Interior. The Congressman has just a two-year legislative record, but is viewed as a strong ally of the outdoor recreation industry and a fully-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). He’s voiced support for keeping existing federal lands in the hands of government as well as an “all of the above” energy exploration and development policy.

With oversight over the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management and more, Interior is one of the federal agencies we work most closely with. NPS manages and distributes the LWCF State Assistance Grants, partners with local agencies through the RTCA program and shares many of our issues as land managers and recreation providers.

Department of Transportation

President-elect Trump has tapped Elaine Chao as his next Transportation Secretary. Chao, a familiar face in Washington, served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush and is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. DOT is poised to be critical to implementing the President-elect's proposed large-scale infrastructure improvement plans.

NRPA is closely watching how the Administration and Congress will define infrastructure. For years, some conservatives have chafed at making investments in our nations walking, biking and active transportation networks. The GOP platform calls for the elimination of the Recreational Trails Program, which many agencies have accessed to help expand local and regional trail networks.

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA, among other things, is in charge of protecting our nation's air and water resources. NRPA has worked with the EPA on building the body of knowledge on using parks as part of a green infrastructure network.  Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt (R) has been selected to serve as the next Administrator at the EPA. If his previous record is anything to go by, there will be attempts to significantly rollback (or eliminate) regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan and possibly auto emissions standards.

Department of Energy

Former Texas Governor, Rick Perry (R), has been announced as the next Secretary of Energy. Perry is well-known for forgetting the department’s name as well as proposing its elimination while campaigning for the White House in 2011. He also has strong ties to the oil and gas industry. The Energy Department, along with the EPA, will be the lead agency with regard to how this next Administration handles climate and key environmental policy.      

What/Who We Don't Know?

Department of Agriculture

The two front runners for Ag Secretary have deep commodity, crop, livestock and farming ties. While these individuals may have deep knowledge about the needs of farmers and ranchers, their lack of experience in issues related to hunger and child nutrition are deeply concerning — especially as Congress gears up for the next Farm Bill.

Names floated to date include: Former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture (under George W. Bush) and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association Chuck Conner and Founder of Heartland Pork Enterprises and Hawkeye Energy Holdings Bruce Rastetter.

The next Ag Secretary will have oversight of numerous issues affecting NRPA's health and wellness pillar including: summer and afterschool meals, sodium and whole grain standards in meals, and support for NRPA's healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards.


Join Us for the Full Story on January 26

The Public Policy Team will be hosting a free webinar on January 26 at 2 p.m. ET to provide an update on the status of Trump’s political appointees, preview the new (115th) Congress, and roll out our new policy agenda and priorities for the year. Buckle up, as it will be an interesting ride from here on out.

Note:  This post will be updated regularly as nominees are announced and confirmed by the U.S. Senate beginning in January. 

You can find a roundup of President-elect Trump’s appointments to key administration positions here.

© Americanspirit | Dreamstime.com - LAS VEGAS NEVADA, DECEMBER 14, 2015: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at campaign event at Westgate Las Vegas