Trump Delivers on Promises with Gusto

 By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

Stumping on a promise to deliver swift and decisive corrective action on many of former President Obama’s policies, President Trump wasted no time, signing executive orders to take action and rectify policy only minutes after taking the oath of office. In the fourteen days since his inauguration, Trump has continued to steamroll existing policies, signing 19 executive orders with sweeping consequences and nominating Cabinet heads and a Supreme Court Justice that signal a dramatic shift from the past eight years.

Trump’s nomination of restaurant executive Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor is one of the less contentious battles he faces on Cabinet appointments, but national organized labor groups have expressed deep concern and opposition to the nomination. Puzder has a long and public history of openly opposing mandatory minimum wage increases and costly benefit requirements such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This week, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fulfill the vacant Supreme Court position left by the late Antonin Scalia, signaling another conservative push.  Gorsuch is a self-proclaimed textualist, subscribing to a literal interpretation of the text of law rather than focusing on the intent of the author. Other well-known textualist Justices include Hugo Black and Antonin Scalia.

In addition to his controversial nomination, Trump has issued an about-face on many policies put in place by the Obama administration, issuing nearly 20 executive orders.  Here is a brief summary of some of the most notable executive actions taken in the first two weeks of the Trump administration:

Two for One:  On January 30, Trump signed an executive order requiring that, for every new regulation put in place, two regulations must be repealed. Regulatory burden, particularly on businesses, was a major point for Trump during his campaign, and he pledged early on to dial back the excessive burden that businesses face. The Two for One rule will incentivize a sharp reduction in regulation as issues arise that require regulatory change.

Drain The Swamp:  Trump’s campaign pledge to correct an out-of-control and unethical government bureaucracy materialized in an executive order on January 28, when Trump mandated an ethics pledge for Cabinet appointees, prohibiting them from lobbying a foreign government and lobbying the federal government for any cause for five years.   The order is aimed at stopping the revolving door of government appointees and lobbyists.

Immigration Ban: By far the most controversial executive order yet, Trump signed an order on January 27, barring refugees from seven primarily-Muslim countries. The order was met with national protests and legal action in district courts, but it stands as a barrier to some foreign refugees and a fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise to secure America’s borders. 

Fast-Track Review:  In advance of his planned $1 trillion infrastructure investment, Trump signed an executive order on January 24, that would fast-track environmental review of infrastructure projects. The bill also affects the construction of two major oil pipeline projects, which had been sidelined by the Obama administration.

Pipeline Approval:  On the same day that he signed an order mandating fast-track review of infrastructure projects, Trump also signed a trio of orders dealing with the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline, two large-scale oil delivery projects. The third order also mandated that the pipelines must be manufactured and constructed in the United States, fulfilling a campaign pledge to revitalizing the American manufacturing industry.