Any list of President Trump’s accomplishments will reflect the biases of its creator.
- Trump signed two executive orders banning immigrants from seven, and then six, countries. The January order was halted by a federal appeals court. The March order was blocked by federal district courts in Hawaii and Maryland. The cases are pending.
- Trump’s January 25 order on “enhancing public safety” instructed the government to “prioritize for removal those aliens” who in “the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security” – essentially making any undocumented person subject to deportation.
- The section of the same order threatening to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions” that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement is on hold after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled it exceeded the president’s authority.
- The Justice Department reversed its position in a long-pending voting rights case in Texas. Federal district and circuit courts had already found Texas discriminated against minorities in enacting a 2013 voter ID law. As the district court prepared to weigh again the state’s intent, the Trump administration on January 20 withdrew the department’s support for the plaintiffs. Nevertheless, the court again found Texas intended to discriminate.
- The Justice Department reversed an order to phase out the use of private prisons. The Obama Justice Department had concluded that private prisons are less safe and effective than government-run facilities.
- The Trump administration withdrew guidance to schools on protecting transgender students from discrimination. It also reversed the Justice Department’s position in support of a high school student suing a Virginia school board for its policy that required him to use a separate bathroom. As a result, the Supreme Court canceled the scheduled oral argument in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board and remanded the case to the Fourth Appeals Court, which had ruled for Grimm, in light of the administration’s new position.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of consent agreements with troubled police departments, contending they hinder law enforcement. Days later a federal judge in Baltimore rejected delay of an agreement between that city and Justice. Other mayors and police chiefs said they welcomed the federal government’s assistance.
- HUD reversed a Federal Housing Administration directive lowering mortgage insurance rates. The rule would have reduced premiums a quarter-percentage point. Set to take effect January 27, it would have saved one million owners/refinancers $500 a year, FHA had estimated.
- The SEC rolled back a 2009 procedure for opening investigations. Acting SEC Chair Michael Piwowar limited the enforcement division’s authority to issue subpoenas. The procedure was developed in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal.
- The administration delayed court proceedings on the update of overtime-pay rules. The rules, which a federal judge suspended in November, revised the definitions of wage and salaried employment, doubling the threshold for hourly workers to $47,000 per year. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta suggested he would attempt to weaken the rule.
- The Labor Department delayed its “fiduciary rule” that would require retirement financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests. The Obama administration said in 2015 that current standards, which allow financial advisers to receive payments from issuers of investment instruments, cost affected savers $17 billion a year.
- The Labor Department delayed enforcement of a rule to reduce workers’ exposure to silica dust. Forty years after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began studying a standard to protect workers from inhaling silica – a cause of lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease – the administration suspended its implementation until at least September 23.
- Trump revoked Obama executive orders requiring fair-pay and safe-workplace standards for federal contractors. The orders had required companies applying for government contracts to disclose and fix labor law violations involving wage theft, workplace injuries, and discrimination. Forced arbitration of employees’ discrimination complaints had been banned.
- Congress repealed internet privacy rules. The FCC rules, set to take effect this year, would have banned ISPs from collecting, storing, sharing and selling customer information without consent. Trump’s FCC commissioner also intends to do away with net neutrality rules.
- Trump revoked executive orders setting pollution standards for power plants and oil and gas production. His executive order also targets standards for carbon and methane pollution and sets the menu to undo Obama administration efforts to address climate change.
- Congress repealed a regulation protecting streams from coal-mine pollution. Trump signed the bill.
- Congress repealed a rule requiring oil companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. Trump signed the repeal of the 2016 rule, written by the SEC under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
- The EPA stopped rules that would limit power plants from dumping toxins into public waterways. The rule, finalized in 2015, would have taken effect in 2018.
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected a petition to ban an agricultural pesticide that causes neurological harm in children and farm workers. EPA scientists recommended in 2016 that the agency ban chlorpyrifos after finding unsafe levels of the chemical on a variety of fruits. Pruitt’s action likely banned further action until 2022.
- Congress repealed protections for bear and wolf families in Alaska refuges. Trump’s signature repealed a rule that had protected black bear mothers and their cubs from being hunted in their dens. The rule also limited baiting, trapping, and using aircraft to track and shoot bears and wolves.
- The Interior Department repealed a ban on using lead ammunition on wildlife refuges. The Fish and Wildlife Service rule protected water and wildlife.
- Trump ordered a reconsideration of safety rules and limits on oil drilling in the Atlantic and the Arctic. On day 99, the order continues his promotion of carbon-based fuels.
- Though the Affordable Care Act remains the law, the administration has worked to undermine it. Trump signed an executive order “minimizing the economic burden” of Obamacare. As insurance companies try to determine what to charge for policies available on the exchanges for 2018, Congress and the administration are debating whether the government will continue to subsidize certain policies.
- Congress stripped Title X funding to any provider of abortion services. Trump signed the bill affecting Title X, which funds health care organizations that provide reproductive, educational, and counseling services related to family planning and contraception.
- Trump reinstated the global gag rule. It prevents recipients of U.S. foreign aid from offering any information, referrals, services or advocacy regarding abortion care, even if they do so with separate funding sources.
- The Education Department rescinded protections for student-loan borrowers. The rules had limited fees debt collectors could charge and held loan servicing contractors accountable for their treatment of borrowers.
- Congress repealed Education Department regulations on school accountability under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. The new law bars the department from issuing any guidance to states on implementing the 2015 reauthorization of government aid to K-12 schools.
Gun violence prevention
- Congress repealed a Social Security regulation that prohibited certain individuals with a serious mental illness from gun possession. The regulation allowed the Social Security Administration to provide to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System the names of beneficiaries who, because of serious mental illness, are prohibited from gun possession under federal law.
- The Justice Department weakened rules prohibiting fugitives from buying guns. It interpreted a law barring purchases by fugitives to apply only to those who left the state that issued the warrant.
- The White House announced it would not disclose its visitor logs.
- We still don’t know whether the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia either hurt the integrity of the election or threatened national security. And we have no idea whether the president’s opaque businesses affect his policies.
The Trump presidency has aroused people across the political spectrum to engage in a way not seen in generations. Politics does matter. Our renewed awareness is his greatest achievement.