Trump executive actions a 'disruptive' lot

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON--The executive actions President Donald Trump has signed have the potential to be among the most "aggressive" and "disruptive" ever issued by a chief executive, according to lawmakers and experts.

Trump and his top aides often describe his use of executive orders, actions and memoranda as the president using his constitutional authorities to "put America first" and plot a policy course to benefit the country's forgotten men and women. Both were major themes of his 2016 campaign.

From touting national security via the three versions of his travel ban, to greenlighting two pipelines his predecessor blocked, to ending an immigration program that affects millions, to targeting federal regulations to altering the 2010 health care law and beyond, the 45th president and his team have been unapologetic about his use of executive powers.

They dismiss criticism of such unilateral actions despite their hammering of President Barack Obama on the 2016 campaign trail for his use of executive authority.

Hill lawmakers from both parties have expressed concerns not about the number of actions Trump has signed but about the substance.

Democrats worry it creates chaos within federal agencies, undercuts the regulatory process or erodes American values on issues such as immigration.


"He's used executive orders principally to roll back things from the Obama administration. There's been no proactive or forward progress in any areas," Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. "I regret the lack of initiatives on policies. ... His lack of bipartisan cooperation really impedes any good for the country."

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Benjamin L. Cardin called Trump's orders "transparent."

"It seems like whatever he thinks, he writes down in an executive order," the Maryland Democrat said. "And have they been vetted? Not at all. ... It concerns me because he's the president of the United States."

In a sign that many congressional Republicans are standing beside the president, scores among their ranks -- especially in the House -- have fully embraced Trump's orders, actions and memoranda.


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