Which Corporate Regulations Will Trump Undo?

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 11, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

During his campaign, Trump promised to repeal, relax, or replace much of the modern regulatory state. He would be a bull in a china shop, and now that he's been elected, many are wondering just what is going to break, and when.

Will he be able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? Will Dodd-Frank be scrapped? And what might happen to international trade deals and domestic civil rights regulations?

Affordable Care Act

Trump railed against the Affordable Care Act for the entirety of his campaign and it's likely to be one of the first government programs he attacks when he takes office. Trump has always been vague on the specifics of his plan and his new transition website, GreatAgain.gov, doesn't break with that pattern. It states that:

The Administration's goal will be to create a patient-centered healthcare system that promotes choice, quality and affordability with health insurance and healthcare, and take any needed action to alleviate the burdens imposed on American families and businesses by the law.

A Trump-backed ACA replacement (or adjustment) is likely to include the ability to buy insurance across state lines, the loss of the individual mandate and mandatory contraception coverage, a reduction or elimination of employer healthcare coverage requirements, and a greater focus on healthcare savings accounts. Whether such a bill could get through the still closely-divided Senate remains to be seen.

Donald Trump might not seek a full repeal of the ACA, either. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal today, the president-elect moved away from his "repeal and replace" mantra, saying he would be willing to keep certain parts of the act, including its protection against denial of insurance due to preexisting conditions and longer times for children to stay on their parents' insurance. "I like those very much," he told the Journal.


The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is also in Trump's sights. His transition website pledges to "dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies to encourage economic growth and job creation."

Bloomberg speculates that any new plans for financial regulation could come from an earlier proposal by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who currently leads the House Financial Services Committee and is rumored to be up for consideration as the next Treasury Secretary. His Choice Act would eliminate the government's power to dismantle failed banks, Bloomberg reports. Hensarling also wants to eliminate the Volcker Rule and weaken the CFPB.

It's unclear how Trump's plans might impact Dodd-Frank's expanded whistleblower protections.

Other Issues: Immigration, Trade, and Regulation Generally

Trump's transition website lists a 10-point approach to immigration, his signature issue. The first point is to "build a wall on the southern border." The ninth is to "turn off the jobs and benefits magnet." Others refer to tightening up the visa system. How Trump will follow through on these points is up in the air, but businesses that depend on immigration to attract workers can probably expect a more cumbersome environment in the future. The tech sector, which employs many highly-skilled foreign workers, may be particularly impacted.

The same goes for those engaged in international trade. Trump has talked about pulling the U.S. out of NAFTA, renegotiating longstanding trade relationships, and forcing companies to bring their manufacturing back to the United States. He has taken few steps to publicly develop those policies since the election however; his transition website's section remains more platitudes than policy proposals. So, we'll have to wait to see how Trump's approach to trade will play out.

Finally, the new administration promises to issue a temporary moratorium on all new regulations and review and eliminate existing government rules "that kill jobs and bloat government." Since there have been thousands of regulations issued in the past few years alone, that review might take some time, but expect it to target things like clean energy regulations, expanded anti-discrimination protection for transgender people, and even FDA food protections.

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