Executive Actions

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Explanation of Executive ActionsEdit

  • 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.
    • In contrast, rules and regulations, which federal agencies (like the Department of Education or Department of Labor) create, have to go through a rule-making process known as notice and comment.
    • There's also 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 was able to begin signing executive orders to change policies created by President Obama immediately taking office. 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 ActionsEdit

Executive OrdersEdit

  • 5/4/17: President Trump signed an executive order protecting religious freedom, which instructs the Treasury not to add a tax or tax penalty to individuals or churches that take a political stand based on religious grounds. It also requires that the Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services Departments consider changing regulations that force most employers to provide birth control in employee insurance plans.[1]
  • 3/28/17: President Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Obama Administration's efforts to combat climate change.
  • 3/27/2017: President Trump signed an executive order rescinding the Obama-era order requiring Federal contractors to disclose evidence of their compliance with Federal law protecting LGBT people, among others, from discrimination.[2][3]
  • 3/6/2017: A revised version of the travel ban executive order was signed and is to go into effect March 16, 2017.
  • 2/24/17: President Trump signed an executive order to "to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people." [4] Agency heads were asked evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations as to which regulations could be changed, replaced or completely reversed.
  • 2/9/17: Trump signed three executive orders focusing on "gangs, drug dealers, and crime against law enforcement officials."[5][6][7][8] The orders[9]:
    • "Task the attorney general with setting up a 'Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety' that will work to reduce crime, particularly 'illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime.'”[10]
    • "Task the attorney general with developing a strategy, in coordination with local, state, and federal agencies, to prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes against police, as well as reviewing whether existing laws go far enough in protecting police from violent crimes."[11]
    • "Task the secretary of state, attorney general, secretary of homeland security, and director of national intelligence to co-chair and direct the existing interagency Threat Mitigation Working Group with a broad review of policies to make sure the US is adequately detecting and prosecuting international drug cartels."[12]
  • 2/9/2017: Executive Order "Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking" pertains to drug cartels and human trafficking. The order describes individuals who were smuggled across the border into the United States as part of a larger "transnational crime organization." The Security of Homeland Security and the attorney general are encouraged to move faster to pursue individuals accused of "immigration fraud and visa fraud."[13] The order is written in vague language so as to give leeway to deport any undocumented immigrants convicted of any crime.[14] It also created a new agency, Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), to address crimes committed by immigrants and publish a regular list of all crimes committed by non-US citizens. [15]
  • 1/30/17: For every one new regulation, two regulations must be revoked.[16]
  • 1/27/2017: Trump signs executive order cutting funding from Sanctuary Cities and criminalizing those who help undocumented people, making it illegal to "facilitate" the presence of "aliens."[17]
  • 1/27/2017: Trump signed an executive order freezing refugee applications from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Syria. He also stated that he would give Christians priority over other refugees seeking to enter the United States.[18]
  • 1/27/2017: Trump signed Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, the first version of a travel ban.
  • 1/26/17: Reduction of the US's role in the United Nations and other international organizations.[19]
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, 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, more than three times Trump's estimate.[20][21]
  • 1/25/2017: Trump signed an executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.
    • The order directs the DHS Secretary to identify federal funding streams that could be stripped from sanctuary cities.[22]
    • The order is also a wide expansion of deportation methods of undocumented immigrants. The order could lead to a deportation of up to 8 million people living in the United States illegally.
  • 1/24/2017: Trump signed an executive order, Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects.
  • 1/23/17: "Hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).”[23]
  • 1/20/2017 Donald Trump signs an executive order that 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 health-care programs." [24] According to health policy experts, this order will have little tangible effect.[25]
  • 1/20/17: Infinite suspension of[26] a pending reduction to the premium on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance.[27] The proposed cut would have saved new FHA borrowers an average of $500 nationally per year.[28]


  • 3/6/2017: Trump signs a memorandum, "Presidential Memorandum on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits"[29]. The memo involves visas and screening and allowing the Attorney General to implement new rules for enforcing grounds for inadmissible entrance. Trump also requests the budget costs of the United States Refugee Admissions Program at the Federal, State, and local levels. It is also requested that every month starting April 28, 2017, that the Secretary of State will report the number of visas issued by each country.[30]
  • 02/23/2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a memorandum that was issued under President Obama instructing the Bureau of Prisons not to renew private prison contracts after their terms expire. [31]
  • 2/21/2017: Trump's administration outlines its immigration enforcement priorities in the "Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest" memo, which represents a dramatic expansion from the Obama administration regarding who will be considered priority for deportation.
  • 1/28/2017: Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council This order lays out the regular members and attendees of NSC and HSC committees. Trump has modified his NSC by elevating his chief strategist, white supremacist Stephen Bannon, to the council.[32] In another break from precedent, Trump has removed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the director of national intelligence, and the secretary of energy from the principals, and has removed the director of the Office of Science and Technology policy and CIA director altogether.[33] After releasing this memo, it was announced that the CIA director would be added back to the NSC.[34]
  • 1/28/2017: Presidential Memorandum Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Sets the policy that "ISIS be defeated," and gives 30 days for a plan to be developed and presented to the president. Section (iii)(D) calls to identify new coalition partners in the fight against ISIS, which is in line with President Trump's desire to work with Russia in Syria.[35]
  • 1/24/2017: The White House released a memorandum, Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing.
  • 1/24/2017: Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline Revives and expedites building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. The Keystone XL pipeline project was halted by Obama after concerns around clean energy and the environment, and its revival will carry environmental risks.[36] Canada welcomed Obama's pause, and Trump's reviving of the project may cause political problems for Canadian President Trudeau and his environmental promises.[37] Trump critics have pointed out that this pipeline would not be built with US steel, and would not be carrying US oil.[38] While Trump has hinted he would require US steel to be used, he did not include this in his memo.[39]
  • 1/24/2017: The White House released a memorandum, Construction of American Pipelines.
  • 1/23/2017: Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy This executive memo reinstitutes the "Global Gag Rule", also known as the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits NGOs from receiving funds from the US if they "perform or actively promote abortion."[40] Studies have shown that imposition of the Mexico City Policy have, ironically, raised abortion rates in Sub-Saharan Africa by reducing access to women's health resources and contraception.[41]
  • 1/23/2017: Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement This largely symbolic memo formally withdraws the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Since the Senate had not yet confirmed this treaty, the memo has no practical effect, but finalizes the death of this trade deal.[42] Although the impact of this trade deal's death cannot be fully known, some argue that its provisions would have limited internet freedom.[43]
  • 1/20/17: Memo on Regulatory Freeze.[44]
  • 1/20/17: Memorandum: Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.

Agency DirectivesEdit

  • 2/3/2017: Trump issued two agency directives today. The first called for a major rewriting of the Dodd-Frank Act, which created regulations to prevent a financial crisis. The second will halt and possibly overturn a rule created by the Department of Labor under President Obama requiring retirement advisers to provide advice that is in the best interest of their client (also known as the fiduciary rule).[45]

Agency ActionsEdit

  • 3/3/2017: Starting on April 3, 2017 premium processing for all H-1B petitions will be suspended for up to six months. H-1B visas are temporary work visas for foreign workers in specialized occupations. [46]
  • 2/25/2017: FCC voted to eliminate open internet transparency protections for millions of American internet service customers that would require providers to give their customers detailed information about broadband prices, speeds and fees.[47]
  • 2/22/2017: The Department of Education and Department of Justice filed a letter with the Supreme Court withdrawing an Obama-era guideline for non-discrimination policies for transgender students, letting school districts and state boards of education prevent transgender students from accessing restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams that match their gender identity. [48], [49]
  • 2/16/2017 HHS Department proposes a rule [50][51] to cut in half the time when people can sign up for coverage under Obamacare and reduce special enrollment periods that have allowed people to sign up for coverage outside the regular window.
  • 2/15/2017 As a consequence of Trump's executive order, the IRS says it will not reject tax forms from people who fail to answer whether they had health insurance[52], making it much harder to enforce Obamacare's individual mandate.
  • 2/8/2017: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will allow Energy Transfer Partners to proceed with completion of the final stretch of the pipeline underneath the Missouri River. Representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux, and others, will immediately file for an injunction.
  • 2/3/2017: FCC regulators are telling nine companies that they won't be allowed to participate in a federal program, called Lifeline, meant to help them provide affordable Internet access to low-income consumers—weeks after those companies had been given the green light.[53]
  • 1/31/17: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) informs the DC Circuit court they won't defend two key elements of their caps on phone providers' rates on prisoners' intrastate calls. Under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set caps on the costs phone providers could charge inmates for phone calls—the majority of which are to family, which studies have shown decrease the likelihood of reoffending.[54]

Planned ActionsEdit

Possible Executive OrdersEdit

Trump can repeal any of President Obama's executive actions. Some of the executive actions that have met with the most opposition from Republicans include:

  • Executive order rescinding barriers to stem-cell research.[55]
  • Presidential memorandum normalizing relations with Cuba.[56]
  • Directive requiring federal agencies to reduce their direct greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2025.[57]
  • Executive order directing federal agencies to consider and prepare for the impacts of climate change.[58]
  • Executive order directing the CIA to stop using certain interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding.[59]

See also Trump's Contract with the American Voter and these tools to track Trump.

List of Rules and RegulationsEdit

Rules and RegulationsEdit

  • 3/7/2017: US Senate voted along party lines to repeal Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order that promoted safe, healthy, fair and effective workplaces. In 2013 Federal Contractors employed about 22 percent of the American Workforce while accounting for 30 percent of the worst violations of workplace safety and wage laws. The executive order is necessary to ensure employment laws were enforced.[60]
  • 3/5/2017: Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to block individuals with mental health issues from purchasing handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets on 150 million acres of federal lands.[61]
  • 3/5/2017: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai moved to remove a rule so telecommunications companies will not have to take "reasonable measures" to ensure that their customers' Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released.[62]
  • 2/8/2017: Rule goes into effect for accessible medical diagnostic equipment. This rule is non-binding until/unless it's adopted by a regulatory agency. This is a final ruling; the public comment period ended in 2012. These standards, if enforced, will provide uniform standards for medical diagnostic equipment such as exam tables/chairs, x-ray machines, weight scales, etc., in order to make it as easy as possible for people with disabilities to enter, exit, and be diagnosed in/on the equipment. [63] [64]
  • 2/1/2017: H.Res.71 Congressional disapproval of rule Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issues Congress has repealed the "Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Users" rule,[65] which required large energy companies to disclose taxes and fees paid to foreign governments.[66] The repeal of this law could lead to increased corruption on behalf of energy companies, such as Exxon Mobile, the previous employer of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.[67]
  • 1/20/2017: Reince Preibus (White House Chief of Staff) issued a memo freezing any regulations unpublished in the Federal Register. The memo also requests a 60-day delay on those rules that were published in the last 60 days.[68]

Possible Rules and RegulationsEdit

There have been reports that federal government agencies have been directed not to communicate with the American public.