On Saturday, president Trump signed three more executive orders aimed at fighting terrorism and corruption. They follow yesterday’s order for a temporarily ban on immigrants from certain countries entering the U.S. Today’s actions are as follows:
EO #1: Implementing a five year lobbying ban on administration officials. “This is something I’ve talked about a lot on the campaign trail… and now we’re putting it into effect,” said Trump.
EO #2: Calling for a reorganization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
EO #3: Calling on military leaders to present a report to the president in 30 days that outlines a strategy for defeating ISIS. “This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in other words ISIS. I think it’s going to be very successful.”
Accoding to Reuters, Trump’s call for a military plan to defeat Islamic State is likely to see the Pentagon revisiting options for a more aggressive use of firepower and American troops. But U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, doubt the country’s military will advocate fundamentally changing a key strategy refined during the Obama administration: relying on local forces to do most of the fighting, and dying, in Syria and Iraq.
“It is going to be very successful,” Trump said as he signed the order in the Oval Office at the White House. A copy of the order was not immediately available but was expected to be released later. In a briefing with reporters on Saturday, a senior administration official said the order would ask the joint chiefs of staff to submit a plan in 30 days for defeating Islamic State, fulfilling one of Trump’s campaign trail pledges.
Trump made defeating Islamic State – which has claimed responsibility for several attacks on American soil and is frustrating U.S. military operations across the Middle East – one of the key themes in his campaign. But he avoided talking about specifics of any plan to combat the radical group.
Any shifts by the U.S. military would have broad repercussions for U.S. relationships across the Middle East, which were strained by former President Barack Obama’s effort throughout his administration to limit U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Syria. Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis has advocated a more forceful approach against Islamic State, but how he will pursue that remains unclear.
David Barno, a retired lieutenant general who once led U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said it would be a major escalation if Trump’s administration opted to rely on U.S. troops by putting them into a direct combat role and effectively substitute them for local forces.
“We’ve been down that road, and I don’t think the American people are excited about that idea,” said Barno, who now teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. “I do think the Pentagon will argue for, and get a lot more authority, to put advisers and special operators closer into the fight,” Barno said.
Today’s actions bring the total number of executive orders signed by Trump since taking office to 17.
A summary list of the previous fourteen, courtesy of Politico, is presented below.
1. Providing “relief” from the Affordable Care Act
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.
2. Freezing all regulations
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.
3. Reinstating the “Mexico City” abortion policy
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.
4. Scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership
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.
5. Freezing the federal workforce
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.
6 & 7. Advancing the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines
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.
8. Expediting Environmental Reviews on Infrastructure Projects
On Tuesday, 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.
9. Promoting “Made-in-the-USA” pipelines
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.
10. Reviewing domestic manufacturing regulation
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.
11. Increasing border security measures
Trump signed an executive order Wednesday 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
12. Pursuit of undocumented immigrants
Trump signed an executive order Wednesday 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”
13. Reevaluating visa and refugee programs
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 and Libya for a period of 90 days. This may also apply to citizens of
- Libya, Yemen and Somalia depending on the interpretation.
- Bars all Syrian refugees for an indefinite period
- 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
14. Strengthening the military
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
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