We’re pleased to bring you our latest Dispatch from Washington by our Special Advisor on Canada-U.S. Relations, Paul Frazer. This series of reports provides insight on U.S. issues and events that have implications for Canadian businesses.
In this report, Paul provides his perspectives on President Obama’s Cabinet and the government’s agenda.
Cabinet Making in Progress
Five months into the second term of the Obama administration there are several Cabinet vacancies. The lack of timely confirmation of nominees for Cabinet and other executive positions is creating serious gaps in governance and is impeding the effective implementation of laws and regulations. The confirmation process itself has become increasingly hostile and has waged partisan battles on Capitol Hill. More frequently, bills are introduced not to achieve a higher goal, but as a political initiative intended to aggravate the other side and serve only to energize a party’s voter base. These actions don’t create good legislation and often—if passed—these bills would result in serious collateral damage. It is in this fashion that Canadian interests are often at great risk of being sideswiped. It is very important for Canadian business to be aware of these possibilities and to be ready to protect its interests.
Despite the gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, the continued economic malaise and anaemic growth, the debt ceiling and the budget deficit make up the government’s agenda along with trade negotiations, immigration reform and energy exports, regulations and project permitting.
The uncertain nature of the U.S. political process, serious animosity between political parties and a White House beset by a host of second term political setbacks should remind us all that Canadian business must remain vigilant and actively look after its interests. The evolution of any of the above-noted agenda items could easily put at risk a particular Canadian business interest or set of interests.
Read the latest Dispatch from Washington.