The new administration is using our tax dollars to pay for actions the majority of Americans do not support. Here is a list of some of the actions Trump has already taken.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act, while not perfect, is widely supported by the majority of Americans. But, if Republicans are able to repeal the ACA without a replacement, like they are intent on doing, 18 million Americans will be without healthcare within the first year. That number balloons to 32 million uninsured Americans within the first 10 years. It is also estimated that non-group coverage health insurance premiums will double within the first 10 years.
On day one, Trump signed his first executive order, Providing “relief” from the ACA. 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. This action means that there will be less enforcement of the mandate for everyone to purchase insurance, creating instability in the exchanges.
Trump froze all pending regulations until they are approved directly by his administration or by an agency led by one of his appointees. The freeze applies to all regulations except except for military, national security and public safety jobs.
The order is meant to stagnate governmental growth and ultimately reduce federal workforce size. However, this freeze could force federal agencies to use more contractors, which would drive prices up. The action specifically applies to the civilian workforce in the executive branch, which totals some 1.36 million people, according to a 2014 Office of Personal Management report.
Trump also issued a presidential memorandum prohibiting government agencies from hiring new employees. This freeze also does not apply to national security or public safety responsibilities.
One of Trumps first executive orders that he signed put a hold on any Obama-era regulations signed during his lame-duck period until further review by the Trump administration. Some agencies “broadly interpreted this regulatory freeze,” as delaying outreach meetings and ceasing the renewal of certain governmental forms.
“Mexico City” Abortion Policy
Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy”, blocking the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars funding international organizations that lobby to legalize, perform or promote abortions. The “Mexico City Policy” was initially established in 1984 by former President Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded and reinstated based on which party occupied the oval office. The policy does not affect services within the United States, but does limit access and funding in international communities.
Dakota Access & Keystone XL Pipelines
Trump signed a series of orders that encourages the construction of two of the most controversial pipelines, Dakota Access and Keystone XL. The DAPL action expedites the review and approval of the remaining construction and operation of the pipeline by the Army of Civil Works and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Keystone XL action allows TransCanada to re-submit it’s application for a presidential permit to construct the pipeline and instructs the Secretary of State to reach a final determination within 60 days.
Trump also signed an executive order to streamline environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects, stating that such projects in the U.S. “have been routinely and excessively delayed by agency processes and procedures.” This order 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.
Finally, Trump signed a memorandum instructing the Secretary of Commerce to create a plan for pipelines created, repaired or expanded in the U.S to use materials and equipment in the country “to the maximum extent possible.” This implies that all steel and metal used for pipeline creation, repair or expansion must be completely produced in the U.S., from the initial melting stage to the application of coatings.
Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to:
- Begin planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, including identifying federal funds and working with Congress for additional funding.
- Construct and operate detention centers near the border
- Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol Agents
- End “catch and release” programs
- Determine all “sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years”
- Allow state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers
On the campaign trail, Trump said that he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Now it looks like Congress will be looking for federal funding and will attempt to force Mexico to pay for certain parts by threatening to take away assistance.
Even this isn’t the complete truth though. In an interview with MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren, House Speaker Paul Ryan flatly admitted, “We’re going to pay for it.”
Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to:
- Prioritize certain undocumented immigrants (including those with criminal convictions and those who have only been charged) for deportation
- Hire 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Prohibit federal funding from assisting “sanctuary cities”, locals that have declined to help enforce federal immigration laws
- Reinstate the Secure Communities Program, enabling state and local law enforcement to effectively act as immigration agents
- Sanction countries that do not take back deported undocumented immigrants
- Create a list, updated weekly, of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities
- Establish 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”
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to deport all illegal aliens. That is what this order attempts to accomplish.
According to Center For American Progress, Trump’s immigration actions will cost taxpayers at least $117 billion over the next decade:
- $9 billion: Mandating detention at the border
- 25 billion: Building a giant concrete wall
- $0: Amount Mexico will contribute to the wall
- $7.5 billion: Maintenance of giant concrete wall
- $6.6 billion: Tripling the number of ICE deportation officers
- $60.4 billion: Non-apprehension costs for “aggressive interior enforcement” including, $13.4 billion: Legal processing; $11.3 billion: Transportation; $35.7 billion: Detention 8.6 billion: Increase CBP by 5,000.
Trump’s immigration action could also reduce GDP by $5 trillion over 10 years.
The plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” With the way things are shaping up, it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump forced the plaque to be changed to, “Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live”, a quote from Trump’s idol, Adolph Hitler.
Now that Republicans control both houses of Congress and the Executive Branch, the only way we can fight back against this dictatorial regime is to exercise our Constitutional right to protest. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shared in its corruption and lawlessness.” Our state (Federal Government) has become lawless and corrupt. We must be fierce, we must be disobedient and we must be civil.