An executive order is an official document signed by the president and provides instructions to government agencies/departments about how to operate in a certain area.
Executive actions describe all types of unilateral moves by a president. These actions include executive orders, proclamations, memorandums, and proposals.
Executive actions differ legal weight. Directives and memorandums carry the same legal effect as an executive order; however proclamations are more ceremonial.
Below is a list of the executive actions taken by President Trump.
Providing “relief” from the Affordable Care Act (January 20)
Trump’s first executive order on Inauguration Day involved “minimizing the economic burden” of the Affordable Care Act. This order allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of other departments and agencies to waive or delay the implementation of any ACA provisions that would impose a financial burden or any state or a regulatory burden on any individuals.
Freezing all regulations (January 20)
Trump froze all pending regulations until they are approved directly by his administration or by an agency led by Trump appointees. The action, given in a memorandum from White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, delays all regulations with the exception of health, safety, financial or national security matters allowed by the Office of Management and Budget director.
Reinstating the “Mexico City” abortion policy (January 23)
The president reinstated the so-called “Mexico City Policy”, which blocks the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions. It was established by former president Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican presidents ever since.
Scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (January 23)
Trump’s next executive action withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which former President Barack Obama negotiated with 11 other pacific nations. The deal was never ratified by the Senate, so it had not gone into effect. Instead, the Trump administration says it plans on negotiating bilateral deals with individual nations.
Freezing the federal workforce (January 23)
Trump issued a presidential memorandum Tuesday that prohibits government agencies from hiring any new employees, effective as of noon on January 22. The order does not apply to military personnel and the head of any executive department may exempt positions that include national security or public safety responsibilities.
Advancing the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines (January 24)
Trump’s next actions encouraged the construction of two controversial pipelines, the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline. The DAPL action instructs an expedited review and approval of the remaining construction and operation of the pipeline by the Army for Civil Works and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Keystone XL action invites TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the pipeline, to re-submit its application for a presidential permit to construct the pipeline. It also instructs the Secretary of State to reach a final determination within 60 days.
Expediting Environmental Reviews on Infrastructure Projects (January 24)
Trump issued an executive order to streamline environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects. The action states that infrastructure projects in the U.S. “have been routinely and excessively delayed by agency processes and procedures.” The action instructs the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to create expedited procedures and deadlines for environmental reviews and approvals for high-priority infrastructure projects.
Promoting “Made-in-the-USA” pipelines (January 24)
This memorandum instructs the Secretary of Commerce to create a plan for pipelines created, repaired or expanded in the United States to use materials and equipment produced in the country “to the maximum extent possible.” It establishes that all steel and metal used in such pipelines be completely produced in the United States, from the initial melting stage to the application of coatings.
Reviewing domestic manufacturing regulation (January 24)
Trump issued an action that instructs the Secretary of Commerce to contact stakeholders to review the impact of Federal regulations on domestic manufacturing. After the review, the Secretary of Commerce is instructed to create a streamlined Federal permitting process for domestic manufacturers.
Increasing border security measures (January 25)
Trump signed an executive order that directed the secretary of homeland security to:
Begin planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, including identify available federal funds and working with Congress for additional funding
Construct and operate detention facilities near the border to make adjudicate asylum claims, subject to the availability of existing funding,
Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, subject to the availability of existing funding,
End “catch and release” policy
Quantify all “sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years”
Take action to empower state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers
Pursuit of undocumented immigrants (January 25)
Trump signed an executive order that directed the secretary of homeland security to:
Prioritize certain undocumented immigrants for removal, including those with criminal convictions and those who have only been charged with a crime
Hire 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, subject to the availability of existing funding,
Prohibit federal funding, with the help of the attorney general, to “sanctuary” jurisdictions, where local officials have declined to help enforce federal immigration laws
Reinstate the Secure Communities program, which was terminated in 2014 and enables state and local law enforcement to effectively act as immigration agents
Sanction countries, with the help of the secretary of state, that refuse to accept the return of undocumented immigrants deported from the U.S.
Create a list, updated weekly, of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary jurisdictions
Create an “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens” to “provide proactive, timely, adequate and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and family members of such victims”
Reevaluating visa and refugee programs (January 27)
Trump signed an executive order Friday evening making significant changes to the visa and refugee programs in the United States. It includes:
Cuts the number of refugees allowed into the United States in fiscal 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000
Suspends for 120 days the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which identifies and processes refugees for resettlement in the United States
Suspends the entry of all “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria for 90 days.
Directs the secretary of homeland security, the director of national intelligence and secretary of state to put together a list of countries that do not provide adequate information to vet potential entry of foreign nationals into the United States. Foreign nationals from those countries will be banned from entering the United States.
Directs the secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security, the director of national intelligence, and the director of the FBI to implement uniform screening standards for all immigration programs
Directs the secretary of homeland security, upon the resumption of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
Directs the secretary of homeland security to implement a biometric entry-exit tracking system
Grants state and local jurisdictions, whenever possible a “role in the process of determining the placement or settlement” of refugees
Suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allows certain people renewing their visas to skip an in-person interview
Directs the secretary of state to expand the Consular Fellows Program
Strengthening the military (January 27)
The president on Friday issued a presidential memorandum directing the secretary of defense, James Mattis, to conduct a review on the military’s readiness in the next 30 days and develop a budget for fiscal 2018 capable of improving the “readiness conditions.” He also directed Mattis to complete a National Defense Strategy and to review the country’s nuclear capabilities and missile-defense capabilities
Reorganizing the National Security Council (January 28)
Trump signed a memorandum Saturday that reorganized the National Security Council, with the goal of making it more digitally-focused, as POLITICO previously reported. Part of the order allows some of the president’s staff, including chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, to attend any NSC meeting, and widens the ability of appointees close to Trump to attend NSC meetings.
Implementing a lobbying ban (January 28)
This executive order bars “every executive appointee in every executive agency” from engaging in “lobbying activities with respect to that agency” for five years after leaving the agency. It also bars them permanently from lobbying for any foreign government or political party.
Defeating ISIS (January 28)
This memorandum instructs Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to create a plan to defeat ISIS and submit it to the president within 30 days. The plan must include a comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS, changes to the rules of engagement, strategies to de-legitimize “radical Islamist ideology,” a plan for cutting off ISIS’ financial support and identification of new partners for the fight against the terrorist organization.
Reducing regulations (January 30)
This executive order requires any executive department or agency that proposes a new regulation to identify two regulations to be repealed. For fiscal 2017, it instructs that the total incremental cost of all new regulations and repealed regulations be no greater than zero. For fiscal 2018, the director of the Office of Management and Budget is required to issue for each agency a maximum total cost of all new regulations and repealed regulations for the fiscal year. No agency is allowed to issue a regulation whose costs exceed that maximum, “unless required by law or approved in writing by the Director.”
Regulating the financial system (February 3)
This executive order lays out a series of principles for regulating the financial system including promoting U.S. corporations’ ability to compete with international companies; to foster economic growth, prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts; and to make regulation efficient. It also instructs the secretary of the treasury to consult with the heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and report to the president within 120 days on how current laws and regulations promote those principles.
Rethinking Obama’s fiduciary standard (February 3)
This memorandum instructs the department of labor to review the Obama administration’s “Fiduciary Rule,” which required financial advisers to serve the best interests of their clients.
Preventing violence against the police (February 9)
This order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop strategies for the Department of Justice to use existing federal laws or recommend new legislation to prosecute individuals who commit crimes against law enforcement officials.
Creating a task force to reduce crime (February 9)
This executive order instructs Sessions to establish a task force to discuss crime reduction ideas, identify “deficiencies” in current laws and evaluate the availability of crime-related data.
Combatting transnational criminal organizations (February 9)
This order aims to increase communication and coordination among different agencies relating to international criminal organization and create a strategy to disrupt these organizations. It also directs the Threat Mitigation Working Group to submit a report to the president within 120 days on transnational criminal organizations.
Enforcing regulatory reform (February 24)
This order instructs each federal agency to designate an official as its Regulatory Reform Officer within 60 days of the order. The EO also directs all agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force composed of the following: Agency RRO, the agency Regulatory Policy Officer, a representative from the agency’s central policy office.
Quigley, Aidan. “All of Trump’s Executive Actions so Far.” The Agenda. Politico, 27 Feb. 2017.
Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
To see more about Executive Actions taken by the POTUS see https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions