President Donald Trump has ordered a contract freeze at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), barring staff from awarding any new contracts or grants. The White House also barred the agency from putting out any press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts. According to the Federal Times: “The Trump administration has also ordered a ‘temporary suspension’ of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.”
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are continuing to push the issue of President’s Trump lease of the Old Post Office. Two Democrat Senators and four Democrat House members sent letters to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) acting commissioner, asking about how the agency plans to address alleged conflicts of interest. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tom Carper (D-DE), and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and André Carson (D-ID) wrote the letters. Warren and Carper noted that GSA’s contract with Trump states that “‘No … elected official of the government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.’
The President’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has also issued a temporary freeze on all regulations until “a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after noon on January 20, 2017, reviews and approves the regulation.” That also means that all regulations that had been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published to the Federal Register must be withdrawn.