In the 5 days since Trump was sworn into the office of President of The United States, he has signed several executive orders, and Presidential Memoranda. Before we jump into all those, let’s first understand what an Executive Order is: an executive order is a directive signed by the President and has the full force of the law, but it must have support within the Constitution and is subject to judicial review. Congress can also override E.O.s with a majority 2/3 vote. What’s a Presidential Memorandum? A Presidential Memorandum is also an Executive directive, with the full force of the law. The difference between an order and a memorandum is that an order is numbered while a memorandum isn’t. A Presidential Memorandum is also not required to cite authorization given to the President by the Constitution or a statute.
Now, let’s review what Executive Orders and Memoranda Trump has signed off on, and what that means for the Average American:
—Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal: what this means is that Trump has issued a directive to all Federal agency heads to waive requirements of the ACA, including patient protection for pre-existing conditions.
— Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: A freeze on all new regulations, including any energy efficiency regulations signed off on by Obama. What does this mean for the average American? Nothing yet, but this will likely be a dismantling and a rollback of any clean energy measures put in place by the Obama administration in the last 60 days.
— The Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Rule: A rule which dictates that any foreign aid provided does not allow any association at all to abortion. What does this mean? That hospitals and organizations that receive US aid cannot even discuss abortion, let alone offer it as a service, even with their own funds. Historically, this rule has done little to reduce the number of abortions, and has instead led to more dangerous abortions.
— Presidential Memorandum Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement: This one is pretty self explanatory This is a withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the more commonly known TPP. The TPP was a trade agreement between twelve countries. More on that here: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32498715. What is the impact on the average American? It wasn’t implemented yet, so no immediate impact. However, US Farmers are incredibly concerned that they will lose an estimated 4.4 Billion a year due to this withdrawal.
— Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Hiring Freeze: This memorandum has called for an immediate, across the board hiring freeze on all Federal agencies, with exception of the Military and Critical Public safety positions. What does this mean for the average American: Increased backlog and poorer service quality for any American relying on government assistance. VA services, Social Security offices, etc.
— Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline + Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline: These memoranda have revived the DAPL pipeline and the Keystone pipeline, and fast-tracked the approvals for both projects. More on this here: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-24/trump-said-to-plan-orders-approving-keystone-dakota-pipelines
— Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines: This memorandum directs that US labor and materials must be used for the construction of these pipelines. There are’t very many specifics available yet.
— Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing: This memorandum calls for the expedition of manufacturing within the US, with an expedition on permitting.
— Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects: This memorandum calls for a faster review process on infrastructure projects, particularly those with an environmental impact. More on that, here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-infrastructure-executive-order-signs-a7544106.html
While not a memorandum or E.O., Trump has also issued a gag order on the EPA, HHS, and the USDA, among others. This means none of the agencies are allowed to release any scientific information to the general public. More on that here.