Executive Actions

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Explanation of Executive Actions[edit]

An executive order is an order that the President can sign without oversight or approval from another governmental agency. As a result, executive orders are narrow in scope. Rules and regulations, which federal agencies (like the Department of Education or Department of Labor) create have to go through a rulemaking process known as notice and comment. Finally, there is legislation, which is proposed by either the Senate or the House of Representatives, and then sent to the President for his/her signature or veto. Executive orders, rules and regulations, and legislation all have the force of law when enacted.

Donald Trump, after taking office, can immediately sign executive orders to change policies created by President Obama. However, in order to undo rules and regulations created by the Obama administration, Trump will have to propose new rules and regulations and go through the notice and comment process in order to finalize them. Similarly, in order to undo legislation created while President Obama was in office, the Trump administration will have to create new legislation that repeals previous legislation.

A Spanish-language version of the White House site can be found at WH Español (not affiliated with Trump).

List of Trump Executive Actions[edit]

Executive Orders That Trump Has Signed

  • 1/30/2017: The Trump administration has signed an executive order requiring for every one new regulation, two regulations must be revoked. Framework involves the two regulations must have the same economic value as the new regulation being proposed. Thre are concerns that this will harm consumers more in the name of moving business faster.[2]
  • 1/27/2017: Trump signs an executive order dramatically restricting refugee admissions to the US and denying visas to individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries his administration sees as "high-risk".[3]
  • 1/26/2017: The Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would reduce the US's role in the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as a process to review or repeal multilateral treaties. It would terminate funding for organizations that support the Palestine Authority or PLO, programs that fund abortion, or any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran and North Korea, as well as a 40% overall decrease in funding of international organizations as a whole. It could also be used to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement or other treaties that do not deal specifically with trade. [4]
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order to build an estimated 2,000-mile wall along the southern US border with Mexico. The cost of building the wall is estimated by some construction analysts to exceed $30 billion, over 3 times the estimate projected by Trump[5].
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order directing the DHS Secretary to identify federal funding streams that could be stripped from sanctuary cities [6].
  • 1/24/2017: Trump approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines[7].
  • 1/24/2017: Trump signs executive order directing the Secretary of State to prohibit federal funds from going to organizations that perform abortions abroad[8], cutting off significant funding for organizations providing critical healthcare services for women.
  • 1/23/2017: The share of the nation’s workers that the federal government employed in 2016 is at its lowest level ever recorded. Nevertheless, President Trump signed an executive order imposing “a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).”[9]
  • 1/20/2017: Donald Trump signed an executive order which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of other agencies to " waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the (Affordable Care) Act that would impose a fiscal burden" on states, cities, and all parties involved in the health care system. In addition, department heads are directed to "provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs." [10] It is unclear the implications of the Executive Order given that much of the Affordable Care Act is required by law.
  • 1/20/2017: Executive Order to "indefinitely suspend" [11] a pending reduction to the premium on FHA mortgage insurance that was set to take effect on loans insured on or after January 27th. The proposed cut would have saved new FHA borrowers an average of $500 nationally per year.[12]
  • 1/20/2017: White House memo on Regulatory Freeze [13]

Details of Executive Actions and Projected Impact on Communities[edit]

Muslim Ban[edit]

Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States January 27, 2017

Projected Impact
This executive order:

  • Blocks refugee admissions from Syria indefinitely.
  • Suspends refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days. After that period, the U.S. will only accept refugees from countries jointly approved by the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Director of National Intelligence.
  • Caps total refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 at 50,000 ― less than half of the 110,000 proposed by the Obama administration.
  • Ban for 90 days all “immigrant and nonimmigrant” entry of individuals from Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
  • Suspend visa issuance to countries of “particular concern.” After 60 days, DHS, the State Department and DNI are instructed to draft a list of countries that don’t comply with requests for information. Foreign nationals from those countries would be banned from entering the U.S.
  • Establish “safe zones to protect vulnerable Syrian populations.” The executive order tasks the secretary of defense with drafting a plan for safe zones in Syria within 90 days. This would be be an escalation of U.S. involvement in Syria and could be the first official indication of how Trump will approach the conflict there.
  • Expedite the completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all visitors to the U.S. and require in-person interviews for all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa.
  • Suspend the visa interview waiver program indefinitely and review whether existing reciprocity agreements are reciprocal in practice.
  • Collect and make publicly available information regarding the number of foreign-born individuals in the United States "who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts.”
  • Collect information about “gender-based violence against women or honor killings” by foreign-born individuals in the U.S.

It is estimated that at least 90,000 people will be impacted by this part of the ban (about 97% or 87,000 of whom are Muslim) [14], based on the number of visa holders from these countries. These people will not be able to travel to the United States for at least 90 days or, if they are in the United States currently, will not be able to leave and return before the ban ends. The breakdown by country is:

  • Iran: 35,363 nonimmigrant visas, 7,179 immigrant visas
  • Iraq: 13,499 nonimmigrant visas, 2,010 immigrant visas
  • Syria: 10,061 nonimmigrant visas, 1,901 immigrant visas
  • Sudan: 5,080 nonimmigrant visas, 1,642 immigrant visas
  • Yemen: 4,525 nonimmigrant visas, 3,143 immigrant visas
  • Libya: 3,303 nonimmigrant visa, 272 immigrant visas
  • Somalia: 331 nonimmigrant visas, 1,078 immigrant visas

Border Wall, Deportations & Sanctuary Cities[edit]

Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements January 25, 2017

Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States January 25, 2017

Projected Impact

  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order to build an estimated 2,000-mile wall along the southern US border with Mexico. The order also called for funding to be stripped for sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants[15].
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signs an executive order[16] dramatically restricting refugee admissions to the US and denying visas to individuals from countries his administration sees as "high-risk". The specifics have not been determined yet but according to sources the administration is considering: blocking Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely, suspending refugee admissions for 120 days and capping all admissions at 50,000 (less than half of the 110,000 proposed by the Obama administration), and temporarily suspending visa issuances to people in countries where the administration considers that security screening are inadequate[17].
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order directing the DHS Secretary to identify federal funding streams that could be stripped from sanctuary cities [18]. Due to Supreme Court precedent, it will likely be that only law enforcement and immigration-related federal grants can be cut from sanctuary cities (primarily DOJ Office of Justice Programs grants). These grants comprise fewer than one percent of the budget of most jurisdictions and therefore may not contain enough money to force states/local governments to follow the immigration policy.
    Trump's actions to cut funding to sanctuary jurisdictions won't have a substantial impact on their budgets [1]


Regulation Freeze, Manufacturing Regulations, Expediting Environmental Reviews for Infrastructure Projects[edit]

Memorandum: Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing January 24, 2017

Executive Order: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects January 24, 2017

Memorandum: Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies January 20, 2017

  • 1/20/2017: White House memo on Regulatory Freeze [19]

American Steel in Pipelines[edit]

Memorandum: Construction of American Pipelines January 24, 2017

Approval of Dakota Access and Keystone Oil Pipelines[edit]

Memorandum: Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline January 24, 2017

Memorandum: Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline January 24, 2017

Federal Hiring Freeze[edit]

Memorandum: Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze January 23, 2017

Projected Impact

  • 1/23/2017: The share of the nation’s workers that the federal government employed in 2016 is at its lowest level ever recorded. Nevertheless, President Trump signed an executive order imposing “a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).”[20]

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Withdrawl[edit]

Memorandum: Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement January 23, 2017

Abortion[edit]

Memorandum: The Mexico City Policy January 23, 2017

I further direct the Secretary of State to take all necessary actions, to the extent permitted by law, to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA) Repeal[edit]

Executive Order: Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal January 20, 2017

Projected Impact

  • 1/20/2017: Donald Trump signed an executive order which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of other agencies to " waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the (Affordable Care) Act that would impose a fiscal burden" on states, cities, and all parties involved in the health care system. In addition, department heads are directed to "provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs." [21] It is unclear the implications of the Executive Order given that much of the Affordable Care Act is required by law.

Planned Actions[edit]

Possible Executive Orders Trump could repeal any of President Obama's executive actions. Some executive actions that have been met with the most opposition from Republicans include:

  • Executive order rescinding barriers to stem cell research[22]
  • Presidential memorandum normalizing relations with Cuba[23]
  • Directive requiring federal agencies to reduce their direct greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2025[24]
  • Executive order directing federal agencies to consider and prepare for the impacts of climate change[25]
  • Executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors of LGBT people[26]
  • Executive order directing the CIA to stop using certain interrogation techniques, like water boarding[27]

100-Day Plan: Contract with the American Voter Trump Tracker - The Guardian

List of Rules and Regulations[edit]

Rules and Regulations Issued

  • 1/20/2017: Reince Preibus (White House Chief of Staff) issued a memo freezing any regulations unpublished in the Federal Register. Further, for rules that were published in the last 60 days, the memo requests a delay for at least another 60 days.[28]

Possible Rules and Regulations

Reports of Federal Government Agencies Directed Not to Communicate with the American Public