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You're Hired: Tracking the Trump Administration Transition

Executive action roundup

Need a refresher? In the 10 days since President Donald Trump was sworn in, he has signed executive actions to alter federal policies on trade, immigration, energy, healthcare, abortion, lobbying, federal employment, and the organization of the National Security Council.

The executive actions taken by Trump in his first 10 days largely fall into two categories: executive orders and presidential memoranda. The differences between the two are subtle. Orders are required to be published in the Federal Register and are typically organizational in nature, meaning they often create new processes. Memoranda generally delegate tasks or start regulations.

For each action below, we give its official name (when available), the type of action, and the basics of what it outlines. The actions are organized by date, starting with the most recent.

Monday, January 30

Name: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs

Type: Executive order

The basics: Seeks to reduce the number and cost of agency regulations through additional review policy for new regulations. For example, “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.”

Saturday, January 28

Name: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees

Type: Executive order

The basics: Requires all executive agency appointees to pledge, among other things, that he or she will not lobby that agency within five years of leaving the appointment. The ban is similar to the two-year ban President Barack Obama signed in 2009, but changes two key features: it removes the ban on lobbyists going to work for government agencies they had lobbied, and it eliminates restrictions on those who leave agencies and influence government without lobbying.

Name: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Alters the structure of the National Security Council (NSC) and who attends which types of meetings. The Principals Committee, the council’s key group of national security advisors, was altered to include chief political strategist Steve Bannon as a regular attendee and to make the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff attendees “where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” These two positions had been regular attendees under President Obama; political strategists did not regularly attend NSC meetings during the Obama administration.

Name: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Calls for a “preliminary draft of a plan to defeat ISIS” to be presented to President Trump by Secretary of Defense James Mattis within 30 days.

Read on: Federal policy on the Islamic State and terrorism, 2017-2020

Friday, January 27

Name: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States

Type: Executive order

The basics: Indefinitely bans entry of Syrians into the United States. Ceases all immigration or travel activity to the United States for people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—countries named by the Obama administration as “countries of concern” in 2016. Stops all refugee admission to the United States for 120 days pending a review “to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”

Name: Unknown

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Orders Secretary of Defense James Mattis to perform a 30-day review of military readiness; requires a plan to bolster the military from both the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget; orders examination of nuclear arsenal.

Wednesday, January 25

Name: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

Type: Executive order

The basics: Calls for the construction of a wall along the United States’ southern border. Under this executive order, additional detention facilities will also be built near the border to house individuals residing in or entering the U.S. without legal permission.

Name: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Type: Executive order

The basics: Introduces penalties against sanctuary cities—which limit the enforcement and prosecution of federal immigration laws—including making them ineligible for federal grants. Also prioritizes the deportation of individuals who “pose a risk to public safety or national security.” This applies not only to non-citizens found guilty of a criminal offense, but also to those who have been charged with but not convicted of a crime.

Tuesday, January 24

Name: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects

Type: Executive order

The basics: Orders that environmental reviews on high-priority infrastructure projects be expedited. The order specifically notes “improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways” as high priority.

Name: Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Directs that, in consultation with the public, manufacturers, and heads of a number of government agencies, the secretary of commerce “shall submit a report to the President setting forth a plan to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturers.”

Name: Regarding Construction of American Pipelines

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Orders that further pipeline construction be done with products made in the United States.

Name: Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Invites TransCanada, the corporation heading the stalled Keystone XL pipeline, “to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.” In addition, the executive memorandum orders the secretaries of state, the Army, and the interior to review permits in an expedited manner.

Name: Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Directs the secretary of the Army to “review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate, requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL.” Also orders the reconsideration of the Army’s decision to halt the project in December 2016.

Monday, January 23

Name: Regarding the Mexico City Policy

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Reinstates the Mexico City Policy on abortion, which makes “neither perform[ing] nor actively promot[ing] abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” conditions of receiving federal funding for any NGO.

Name: Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific

Partnership Negotiations and Agreement

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Officially withdraws the United States from negotiations involving the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This effectively ends U.S. involvement in the multilateral trade deal, which had not been ratified by Congress.

Name: Regarding the Hiring Freeze

Type: Presidential memorandum

The basics: Authorizes a hiring freeze for the federal government. The freeze excludes the military, national security staff, and staff responsible for public safety and public health.

Friday, January 20

Name: Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal

Type: Executive order

The basics: Gives broad authority to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the heads of other executive offices and governmental departments, “to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

Senate action today

  • A procedural vote on Rex Tillerson’s nomination for secretary of state is scheduled for today. Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), have called for additional questions regarding Tillerson’s stance on Trump’s executive orders on immigration before proceeding. A confirmation vote could happen as early as Wednesday.

  • The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss the nomination of Steven Mnuchin for secretary of the treasury.

Coming this week

Tuesday: U.S. Supreme Court nomination announcement

Trump announced that he has made his decision and would reveal his nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Various reports indicate a consensus of three names on Trump’s short list: Judges Neil Gorsuch, Thomas Hardiman, and William Pryor. Bloomberg also reported that Judge Raymond Kethledge was also in consideration, while CNN identified Judge Diane Sykes as Trump’s fourth contender, along with Gorsuch, Hardiman, and Pryor.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) indicated that he would filibuster any of Trump’s choices unless he nominates Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Obama in March 2016 but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.

Tuesday: Committee votes
  • The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on the nominations of former Gov. Rick Perry (R) for secretary of energy and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) for secretary of the interior. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) is the committee chair, and Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.) is the highest ranking Democrat. The committee has 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats. We covered the key issues in Perry’s confirmation hearing on January 20 and Zinke’s hearing on January 18. Neither nominee is one of the eight whose confirmations Democrats announced they would contest.

  • The Judiciary Committee is also expected to vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general.

  • The Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss the nomination of Tom Price for secretary of health and human services.

Tuesday: Elaine Chao confirmation vote

Elaine Chao, Trump’s nominee for secretary of transportation, is scheduled to receive a vote on her nomination in the Senate.

Wednesday: Confirmation hearing for David Shulkin

David Shulkin, Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, is scheduled for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is the committee chair, and Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) is the highest ranking Democrat. The committee has eight Republicans and seven Democrats.

Thursday: Confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder

Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder will appear before the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Thursday. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is the committee chair, and Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) is the highest ranking Democrat. The committee has 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats.,_2017

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