By Celine Grajo
January 31, 2017
Disclaimer: The views and opinions of this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of St. Thomas Aquinas College, its staff, or any/and all of its contributors or affiliates.
Welcome back Spartans! I hope all your breaks were refreshing and have prepared you for another semester, and another year of life. This past week has been greatly eventful, to say the least. While we unpacked luggage and watched the snow fall, the President has settled into his new position. As of Tuesday, January 31, President Donald J. Trump has signed and issued seventeen executive actions. These new policies focus first and foremost on the American people and industry, but with the combination of such extreme vetting of potential citizens and the bias it may encourage, the disregard for the scientifically-proven side-effects of climate change, and the defunding of programs that help millions with bodily autonomy, in favor of a stronger yet more expensive military, American-made materials, and lower financial burdens for American citizens and businesses, our nation has been thrust further into a chaotic political and social climate, with protests, both violent and non, erupting all over the world. Accusations of human and environmental rights infringements have surfaced on television screens and social media. Senior Jacob McCullough, alongside STAC professors of Political Science, has initiated a gathering of the STAC student body to actively engage in these issues and consider what they really mean for the American public, and the world as a whole.
Spartans, discussing politics may not be fun or ideal, but we are the new generation. We have a voice, now, in this very moment, and one day, we are going to inherit this Earth. Decades from now, we are going to be chapters in a history book. What would you like those pages to say?
Per the White House’s government website, the executive actions are as follows:
- “Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal”
While in the works of repealing the ACA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with the heads of all other departments and agencies under the Act, are permitted, to the extent of the law, to assert its efficient implementation, addressing concerns of financial costs to the State or any individual.
- “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies”
This document puts a halt on all regulations until the new Administration can thoroughly review them.
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze”
Intended to reduce the size of the Federal Government workforce, this memorandum applies to all agencies except military personnel.
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement”
In hopes of promoting the American industry, the US has withdrawn from the TPP.
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy”
Created to ensure that no U.S. taxpayer dollars fund “organizations and programs that support or participate in international abortion services,” the Mexico City Policy also asks to lengthen the requirements of global health services, as allowed by the extent of the law.
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline”
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline”
These two memoranda state that construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline will resume, and plans will be drawn up for the Keystone XL.
- “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines”
This document instructs the use of only US materials in construction, repair, and replacement of American pipelines.
- “Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects”
An order to accelerate, with respect to the law, property rights, public safety, and environmental health, the completion of environmental reviews and approvals of infrastructure investments that guarantee economic competitiveness, the creation of millions of jobs and increased wages, and the reduction of the cost of goods and services for the American people.
- “Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing”
For a period of 60 days, the Secretary of Commerce will converse with multiple agency heads to construct a plan to strengthen and quicken domestic manufacturing, as well as control and lessen financial costs to regulate said businesses.
- “Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements”
- “Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”
In an effort to lower violence, crime, and excessive use of federal and communal funds, these executive orders call for strict immigration laws, the removal of undocumented immigrants, and heightened border patrol to prevent further illegal entrance from Mexico. There is a potential economic boost that may emerge from newly formed communities along the border regions, though payment for this dividing structure is still being finalized. This order also targets states, municipalities, and other entities that refuse to turn over undocumented immigrants to the government by withholding their funding.
- “Presidential Memorandum Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”
With new allies in the fight against ISIS, this plan will include actions to cut off their revenue, cyber strategies and public diplomacy to isolate the terrorist group, and recommended changes to US policies and rules of engagement regarding the use of force against the Islamic State.
- “Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces”
As it states, the Secretary of Defense will begin taking measures to improve all aspects of our United States Armed Forces. This includes military infrastructure, training of U.S. soldiers, and the maintenance and modernization of defense technology and equipment.
- “Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
In order to better screen potential threats to American security and its people, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and the State, and the Director of National Intelligence will work vigilantly in directing the visa-issuance process. In regards to the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programs, entry into the United States for immigrants and citizens flying from certain countries have now been restricted. The aim is to work case-to-case to determine malicious or fraudulent intent against America or its people, beliefs, and way of life. Compiled data of the effects of this policy will be presented in a year.
- “Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council”
Councils made to assist the President in national security and homeland security issues regarding domestic, foreign, economic, and military policies, have now been provided with Committees to delegate and analyze issues at different levels of responsibility.
- “Executive Order: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees”
This document orders the discontinuation of U.S. administration officials lobbying for foreign governments. These officials will also refrain from involving themselves with any previous employers for a period of two years since their appointment.