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New Policy-Makers and Advisors

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Last week, President Obama appointed General Electric’s CEO & Chairman Jeffrey Immelt to lead the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.  This was the latest in a series of pro-business appointments that have been made since the 2010 mid-term elections last November.

These new appointees – all of whom are centrists who support free trade and pro-business policies – signal a shift in how the Obama Administration may approach a variety of issues and pending regulations during the next two years.  Currently, some important federal regulations that pertain to the workplace are in the pipeline.  SHRM will be monitoring how these recent appointments might influence the rules governing implementation of laws (like the new Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act) that affect HR professionals.

Important influential appointments during the past few weeks include:

  • William Daley, who had been President Clinton’s Commerce Secretary and chief champion of NAFTA, was named White House Chief of Staff;
  • Gene Sperling was appointed Director of the National Economic Council and Counselor to the Treasury Secretary, a position he held in the Clinton Administration;
  • Bruce Reed, another Clinton-era appointee and former CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), was recently made Chief of Staff for Vice President Biden.  Reed had been Executive Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Bowles-Simpson Commission.  As Clinton’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, he is credited with helping win passage of landmark welfare reform.

In keeping with his State of the Union address, President Obama hopes these personnel changes will help move the nation into “a new phase of our recovery,” as he said, that demands an emphasis on job creation.

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