Having already signed a (mostly symbolic) executive order on Obamacare on Friday night, urging US agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals, Trump is preparing to unload a volley of many more executive orders. Courtesy of Axios, which quotes “one of the best-wired Republican lobbyists in town”, here is a preview of the initial round of Trump executive actions, some of which may hit as soon as Sunday afternoon:
- Look for a possible hiring freeze at executive branch
- 5-year lobbying ban on transition and administration officials
- Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign NGOs from getting U.S. family planning money if they provide abortions with non-U.S. funds. (It’s already illegal to use U.S dollars on abortions.)
- Task the Defense Secretary and joint chiefs to come up with plan to eviscerate ISIS
- Report on readiness, and something cyber security related
- Border/immigration: Something on sanctuary cities, expand E-Verify, an extreme vetting proposal
- Trade: Withdraw from TPP and a thorough review of NAFTA
Axios also notes that “the Mexico City executive order could come as soon as today.”
Furthermore, watch for dozens of EPA executive orders coming down the pike. “Says a Trump source: “EPA has clean water-related and some 30,000 foot regulatory ones lined up [immediately]…We have dozens for the EPA…Starting Monday through the month of February. We have to roll them out gradually.”
As we laid out before, here is a brief summary of what Trump can (and can not do) on day one. Exhibit 3 lists the President’s “Contract with Voters”, which includes several items that can be accomplished through executive action but involves significant legislative activity as well.
Next a table breaking down the upcoming Budget process:
The “budget reconciliation” process allows the majority party to instruct various committees to pass legislation to achieve certain fiscal targets, for example to reduce the deficit by a certain amount over the next ten years. These instructions, along with spending and revenue targets, are included in the annual budget resolution that Congress is supposed to pass by April of each year. Legislation passed pursuant to these instructions enjoys procedural protections in the House and Senate; most importantly, it is immune to filibuster in the Senate and thus needs only 51 votes to pass. The budget resolution can provide instructions to pass as many as three reconciliation bills, one dealing with tax or revenue changes, one dealing with spending changes, and one dealing with the debt limit. This year, tax reform is likely to be addressed through reconciliation, as are changes to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). It is possible that congressional leaders might also consider using this process to address infrastructure funding, certain entitlement program reforms, or the debt limit increase that appear to be necessary by Q3.