An In-Depth Look at Trump’s First 18 Executive Orders

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr

As articulated in Article 2 of the United States’ Constitution, the president is “vested” with numerous powers, albeit restricted, as the head of the government and symbol of the country. Although the constitution does not endow the president with any formal power to introduce legislation into Congress, the president does maintain the prerogative of executive orders, also known as EO. EOs are an executive action in the form of a statement in which the president outlines how the government bureaucracy should administer the administration’s policy preferences. The usage of EOs vary from president to president. For example, William Henry Harrison issued zero EOs, and FDR issued a total of 3,721 EOs. President Trump has issued 18 EOs so far since taking office:

  1. Provides “relief” from the Affordable Care Act (Jan. 20) – In order to relieve Americans from the purported economic duress from the act, the president has allowed the secretary of Health and Human Services and other heads of departments and agencies to halt any provisions of the act that impose financial burdens on states or individuals.

  2. Regulatory Freeze (Jan. 20) – The administration has ordered the delay of all pending regulations until each one is reviewed by the administration or a Trump appointee.

  3. The Mexico City Policy (Jan. 23) – Prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortion procedures or instruction carried out by nongovernmental organizations.

  4. Trans Pacific Partnership Withdrawal (Jan. 23) – Formally withdraws the United States from the TPP, a regional multilateral economic free trade agreement.

  5. Hiring Freeze (Jan. 23) – With the exception of military personnel, the memorandum prohibits further hiring of employees by government agencies. Additionally, the “head of any executive department may exempt positions that include national security or public safety responsibilities,” according to Politico.

  6. Keystone XL Pipeline (Jan. 24) – Encourages the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and invites TransCanada to resubmit their application for a presidential permit.

  7. Dakota Access Pipeline (Jan. 24) – Rushes the review and approval for continued DAPL construction.

  8. Construction of American Pipelines (Jan. 24) – Instructs the secretary of commerce to maximize the use of “materials and equipment produced in the United States” for the construction or operation of any pipelines in the United States.

  9. Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects (Jan. 24) – The action maintains that the process of building infrastructure has been encumbered by environmental reviews and posits a “stream-line” process of review to be carried out by the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

  10. Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing (Jan. 24) – In order to buttress the expansion of manufacturing in the United States, the order instructs an expedited process of reviews and approvals for proposals. Additionally, the secretary of commerce is instructed to contact stakeholders to review federal regulations.

  11. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements (Jan. 25) – Inaugurates the planning and construction of a southern border wall, expands federal detention capacities, hires additional 5,000 Border Patrol agents, ends the “catch and release” policy and empowers local and state law enforcement to behave as immigration officers.

  12. Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States (Jan. 25) – Directs secretary of homeland security to prioritize the removal of certain undocumented immigrants, hires 10,000 additional immigration officers, prohibits federal funding from aiding “sanctuary” cities, as well as several other measures that target undocumented immigrants.

  13. Re-evaluation of Refugee Visas (Jan. 27) – Substantially reduces the amount of refugees admitted into the country and, for 90 days, restricts the entry of “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria.

  14. Augmenting the Military (Jan. 27) – Directs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to review military preparedness and draft a budget for the fiscal year 2018 that would enhance the country’s “readiness conditions.”

  15. Reorganizing the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council (Jan. 28) – Allows an expansion of personnel allowed to attend National Security Council meetings, which include White House Strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

  16. Lobby Ban (Jan. 28) – Prevents executive appointees from engaging in lobbying activity, with regard to that agency, for five years after their departure.

  17. Plan to Defeat ISIS (Jan. 28) – Instructs Mattis to submit a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days.

  18. Reducing Regulation (Jan. 30) – When any facet of the government plans to introduce a regulation, the order requires the withdrawal of two regulations.