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Blue Star Brief February 2017

Blue Star Strategies is a global strategic consulting, public affairs, and government relations firm, based in Washington, DC with offices in Europe and Latin America. We work with public and private sector partners to help solve their business and policy challenges in the United States and in emerging markets around the world.


U.S. Government Transition

With the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017, a new U.S. administration continues to take shape.

President Trump has announced his nominations for all but one (
Council of Economic Advisers Chair) of the appointed members of his presidential cabinet as well as senior level Executive branch positions  that must be confirmed by the Senate.

To date, the eight appointees who have been confirmed so far are:

Attorney General—Jeff Sessions
Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) Director—Mike Pompeo
Secretary of Defense—Gen. James Mattis
Secretary of Education—Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Homeland Security—Gen. John Kelly
Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs)—Rex Tillerson
Secretary of Transportation—Elaine Chao
United Nations Ambassador—Nikki Haley

Since taking office, President Trump's brief tenure has been punctuated by a number of unilateral presidential directives, including executive orders and memoranda. Historically, such actions have 
been used by all presidents to declare government policy by giving guidance to federal agencies on how they should operate. Presidents have also issued such orders to revoke or otherwise reverse those actions of their predecessors. However, while these actions are legally binding, they cannot be used to create new laws or reverse previous laws. In contrast to legislation passed by Congress which is far broader in scope, executive actions are typically more limited and targeted in their reach. Further, any executive order whose implementation requires new funding will, by necessity, also require Congressional oversight and legislative approval.

Some of President Trump's executive actions have perhaps not been surprising in light of his campaign promises, such as rolling back President Obama's regulatory agenda, withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, and impacting implementation of 
the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature health care initiative. However, other such actions have been seen as highly controversial, in terms of both policy as well as process. These include his January 27 action to temporarily suspend entry to the U.S. by citizens of seven Muslim majority nations and related reports that actions were planned quietly and without consultation and legal review by relevant Executive branch stakeholders and department agencies, including newly confirmed cabinet members. As a result, a number of these actions are under criticism from both Democratic and Republican Party leaders, State Department officials, and civil society organizations as well as through protests, state attorneys general lawsuits, and other legal and policy challenges.

To buttress his executive directives,
President Trump has reiterated or otherwise signaled his intent to pursue a variety of specific policies, which include renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, canceling or replacing the Affordable Care Act, reshaping immigration and border enforcement policies, and approving oil and gas pipelines.

As expected, the Trump administration portends a number of new as well as previously uncharted approaches to both U.S. domestic and foreign policy. As the new administration, leadership, and policies of President Trump continue to take shape, we will be tracking developments, reaching out to our contacts, and look forward to sharing additional insights with you.

With best regards,

The Blue Star Strategies Team



Above: The White House welcomed Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. 


Insight and Analysis


Blue Star Strategies and our partners bring seasoned perspective to our work across diverse industry sectors, which inform our strategic consulting and advocacy services.

 
Mexico's Energy Sector Reform

Amanda Valdez of Dentons Lopez Velarde based in Mexico City charts emerging opportunities for foreign investors based on the country's reforming energy sector.

Click here to read the full article...

 
Can Trade Agreements Be Renegotiated?

Newly inaugurated President Trump has said that his administration will renegotiate multilateral trade agreements such as NAFTA and others. Blue Star looks at what such an approach entails.


Click here to read the full article...

 
Brexit Update

James Le Grice of Insight Consulting Group based in London shares an update on Brexit and focusing on Prime Minister May's efforts to recast Britain's relationships with the U.S. and the EU.

Tips and Recommendations

Blue Star Strategies works with diverse clients around the world  and is committed to the pursuit of learning and growth from our many enriching relationships and partnerships.



Arts and Culture...
What We're Reading

Blue Star
 recommends...


The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, by artist Jacob Lawrence now at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC through April 23.

Part of a 60 panel exhibition exploring the impact of the Great Migration, the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North and West that began in 1910.

The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture
Jacob Lawrence at the The Phillips Collection

And don't miss...

Matisse/Diebenkorn, a beautiful exhibition appearing next in San Francisco, illuminating the artistic interplay between Henri Matisse and Richard Diebenkorn.

Karen Tramontano 
recommends...


The Sympathizer: A Novel, by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

“I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces...”

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the author
Vietnamese- American refugeeof this thrilling spy novel explores dual identify and the complexity of the Vietnam-U.S. war.

Karen Tramontano Addresses Fair Labor Association Board
Outlines New Approach to International Trade and Global Labor Rights

Blue Star Strategies professionals are active in our community and provide
regular commentary and analysis on television, online, and in print.




At a time when political leaders are actively seeking new approaches to international trade, Karen Tramontano recently published an innovative proposal for addressing this challenge.

Karen continued to outline her vision in a recent interactive discussion at the
annual Board of Directors meeting of the Fair Labor Association, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting workers’ rights around the world.

Click here to read Karen's latest op-ed in The Hill that urges Congress to demand that President Trump bring improved worker protections to any proposed NAFTA renegotiation.

Photo: Karen (far right) addresses the FLA's board meeting in Washington, DC.



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We named our firm after the Native American Hopi tradition which teaches that when the
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