Safety -- August 28, 2017
President Trump has revoked President Obama's Executive Order 13688. President Obama's executive order and subsequent working group findings established the "Prohibited Equipment List" which identified categories of equipment that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) would "not be able to acquire via transfer from Federal agencies or purchase using Federally‐provided funds (e.g., Tracked Armored Vehicles, Bayonets, Grenade Launchers, Large Caliber Weapons and Ammunition)." By revoking this executive order, President Trump will allow local LEAs to acquire any items previously prohibited.
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Federal Government -- August 25, 2017
President Trump has officially issued a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reinstate the ban on transgender people from serving in the military and Coast Guard. This memo also halts "all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel, except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex."
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President Trump has begun the process to investigate China's actions regarding Intellectual Property Rights
Trade -- August 14, 2017
President Trump has ordered the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Lighthizer to determine if he will "investigate any of China's laws, policies, practices, or actions that may be unreasonable or discriminatory and that may be harming American intellectual property rights, innovation, or technology development." This is one possible first step for the process that would allow the U.S. Government to use Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to "impose duties or other import restrictions" on China.
USTR Lighthizer responded that "China industrial policies and other practices reportedly have forced the transfer of vital U.S. technology to Chinese companies. We will engage in a thorough investigation and, if needed, take action to preserve the future of U.S. industry… This will be one of...
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Immigration -- August 02, 2017
President Trump officially supports the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton [R-AR] and Sen. David Perdue [R-GA].
This bill would move the U.S. to a skills-based visa system similar to those used by Australia and Canada which would factor in "education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, past achievements, and entrepreneurial initiative". The bill would modify the current system that gives preference to foreign family members of U.S. citizens: it would keep preferences for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, but it would remove preferences for extended family members and adult children. The act would eliminate the Diversity Visa lottery system, and it would limit the number of refugees able to receive...
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Federal Government -- July 31, 2017
President Trump has repeatedly called for the Senate to end the filibuster via the so-called "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to allow a simple majority to end debate before a vote.
Currently, ending debate requires 60 votes, a super-majority. Therefore, for most votes, 41 Senators can prevent a measure from ever being voted on. However, the Senate can change this rule that makes a filibuster possible with only 51 votes, a simple majority. This option has only been used twice, once by the Democrats in 2013 for executive and judicial nominees (except for Supreme Court nominees), and once by the Republicans in 2017 for Supreme Court nominees.
President Trump has expressed his desire for the Senate to change the rules allowing for any filibuster, and he has begun to increase...
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President Donald Trump signs a new executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations
Immigration -- June 26, 2017
The Supreme Court has decided that it will hear the cases relating to these orders in October of this year.
Furthermore, it has partially stayed the preliminary injunctions preventing the executive orders from being carried out. This means that the executive order "may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." An example of such a bona fide relationship would be a student from a restricted country who has been admitted to a U.S. university; the executive order would not apply to them. Conversely, the executive order can be enforced "against foreign nationals abroad who have no connection to the United States at all".
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Education -- June 15, 2017
The goal of this executive order is to establish policies to promote apprenticeships and workforce development programs by "easing the regulatory burden on such programs and reducing or eliminating taxpayer support for ineffective workforce development programs".
The order directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to propose regulations which would promote the establishment of "Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships". The DOL will allow "trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations" to establish these programs which will be reviewed by the DOL for quality before approval.
The order also directs the DOL to reallocate funding to promote apprenticeships and to develop a task force on the subject.
Finally, the order...
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Energy & Climate -- June 01, 2017
President Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an international agreement designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He argues that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy because it is too expensive, that the agreement is insufficient to positively affect the climate, and that the agreement disadvantages the U.S. relative to other countries.
The Paris Agreement itself enhances the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the goal of holding global average temperatures within 2°C above their pre-industrial levels. The agreement has been signed by every country in the world except for Nicaragua and Syria, and the United States is the first to announce its withdrawal.
Because the UN failed in...
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Federal Government -- May 23, 2017
Overall, President Trump's 2018 budget request would decrease the total size of the federal government, but it contains specific spending increases for defense, border security, and public safety. These relative increases help to highlight President Trump's policy priorities by detailing which areas of government he believes should get spending increases instead of spending cuts.
Specifically, the "President’s Budget includes $639 billion of discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense (DOD), a $52 billion increase above the 2017 annualized continuing resolution (CR) level, fully offset by targeted reductions elsewhere." The request also allocates funds to build a wall along the border with...
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Federal Government -- May 23, 2017
Because Congress holds power over spending and taxation, presidential budget requests have no binding authority; however, President Trump's 2018 budget request does clearly demonstrate his goal to dramatically reduce the size of the federal government.
Long term, Trump seeks to reduce non-defense discretionary spending by 2 percent a year for 10 years from $519 billion and 2.7 percent of GDP in 2017 to $385 billion and 1.2 percent of GDP in 2027. To meet this aggressive goal for budgetary reduction, the administration proposes eliminating or reducing numerous programs across the federal government. These proposals are outlined in the Major Savings and Reforms document, and would produce "savings of $57.3 billion in discretionary programs, including $26.7 billion in program...
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