WASHINGTON — The success or failure of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda has become the subject of much debate in recent weeks.
His major policy initiatives — repealing Obamacare, passing tax reform, an infrastructure plan and more — have all been stalled on Capitol Hill, either because of Republican disputes or Democratic obstruction or both. Lawmakers skipped town for a July 4 recess Thursday without passing an Iran sanctions bill even though it has support in both houses of Congress.
None of that inaction stopped his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, from encouraging reporters to Thursday to pay less attention to his tweets and more attention to his policies.
Trump has increasingly held up the pieces of legislature he has signed as a barometer for his success. He has taken to Twitter on numerous occasions to tout the quantity of bills signed into law and his role in their passage, most recently writing “I’ve helped pass and signed 38 Legislative Bills, mostly with no Democratic support, and gotten rid of massive amounts of regulations. Nice!”
Five months into his presidency, the number of bills Trump has signed stands at 40. The majority have been passed through the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back regulations imposed by the executive branch, and are aimed at dismantling former President Barack Obama’s legislative legacy.
In all, one of the laws has created a new policy, fifteen have rolled back rules and regulations issued under Obama’s administration, eight had to do with designating something or working to create a new initiative, five changed or expanded existing legislation, and 11 were related to government funding or operations.
Here’s a look at when those bills were signed into law and what they actually do, according to Congress.gov and CNN reporting.
New policy legislation
June 23, 2017: S. 1094 – “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017”
This law gives the agency’s leaders the ability to fire inept employees and protect those who uncover and report wrongdoing at the VA. Its signing represents the completion of one of Trump’s campaign promises. It passed both bodies of Congress with broad bipartisan support.
Legislation described as rolling back Obama-era policies
May 17, 2017: H.J.Res. 66 – “Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees”
This resolution rolls back an Obama-era rule that exempted state-created retirement plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which sets the standards for workplace savings plans. The Department of Labor had issued the rule in August 2016.
May 12, 2017: S. 496 – “An Act to repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled ‘Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform'”
This law repeals the “Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform.” The Obama-era rule, issued jointly by the Federal Transit Administration, the US Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration, was meant to revise transportation planning regulations.
April 13, 2017: H.J.Res. 67 – “Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by qualified State political subdivisions for non-governmental employees”
This resolution also rolls back the Obama-era rule that exempted state-created retirement plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which sets the standards for workplace savings plans. The Department of Labor had issued the rule in August 2016.
April 13, 2017: H.J.Res. 43 – “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients”
This law reverses an Obama-era rule that prevented states from withholding federal funding to facilities that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote on the measure after two Republican Senators opposed it.
April 3, 2017: S.J. Res. 34 “A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services’ “
This law repeals Obama-era protections that required Internet service providers to get permission before collecting and sharing data customer data. Those protections had not gone into effect before they were rescinded.
April 3, 2017: H.J. Res. 83 – “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ‘Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness'”
This resolution rolls back a rule issued by the Department of Labor under President Obama, which said that employers must make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses, and those who did not could be cited within five years of the violation. This repeal now re-enacts a six month statute of limitations on violations.
April 3, 2017: H.J.Res. 69 – “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to ‘Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska'”
This resolution repeals an Obama-era rule issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which prohibited certain kinds of wildlife hunting methods, such as aerial hunting of bears and wolves and bear-baiting, in Alaska.
March 31, 2017: H.J.Res.42 – “Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants”
This resolution repeals an Obama-era Labor Department rule that limited states’ ability to drug-test those seeking unemployment benefits.
March 27, 2017: H.J.Res.57 – “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965”
This resolution nullifies an Obama-era Education Department regulation on “accountability” metrics for schools. The rule had required states to develop “accountability systems” which took into account “multiple measures of school success, including academic outcomes, student progress, and school quality.”
March 27, 2017: H.J. Res. 58 – “Joint Resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation issues”
This resolution strikes down another Obama-era Education Department regulation that established definitions and requirements for states and higher education institution to develop ways to assess teacher preparation.
March 27, 2017: H.J. Res. 44 – “Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land”
This resolution halts an Obama administration plan for the millions of acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management, especially those concentrated in the Western United States.
March 27, 2017: H.J. Res. 37 – “Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation”
This legislation voids an executive order Obama signed in August 2016 that looked to protect government contractors by requiring employers to disclose labor law violations, including wage theft, unsafe working conditions and hiring discrimination.
February 28, 2017: H.J.Res. 40 – “Joint Resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007”
This measure rolls back an Obama-era regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of some severely mentally ill people. The regulation, finalized in December 2016, required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness.
February 16, 2017: H.J.Res.38 – “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule”
This legislation nixes an Obama-era regulation meant to protect federal waterways from coal-mining waste.
February 14, 2017: H.J.Res.41 – “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to ‘Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers'”
This measure rolls back an Obama-era rule that required “resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals.”
Ceremonial and initiative-creating legislation
June 6, 2017: H.R. 375 – “An Act to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, as the ‘Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and United States Courthouse'”
This law renames a federal building in Nashville in honor of former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson. Thompson died in November 2015 at the age of 73.
May 8, 2017: H.R. 534 – “U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act”
This law authorizes the State Department to rejoin the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) “to promote public diplomacy, global branding, and tourism to the United States.”
March 31, 2017: S.J.Res.1 – “Joint Resolution approving the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield”
This resolution approves a location on the National Mall in Washington, DC to create a memorial to Gulf War veterans.
March 31, 2017: H.R.1362 – “An Act to name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Pago Pago, American Samoa, the Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic” This law designates a name for a VA clinic in American Samoa.
March 28, 2017: S. 305 – “Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017”
This bill adds National Vietnam War Vetarans Day (March 29) as a holiday upon which the American flag should be prominently displayed.
March 13, 2017: H.R.609 – “To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs health care center in Center Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, as the ‘Abie Abraham VA Clinic'”
This legislation renamed a VA health center in Pennsylvania after Abie Abraham, a World War II veteran.
February 28, 2017: H.R. 321 – “Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act”
This act aims to promote the advancement of women in NASA and the STEM fields through a number of educational and mentorship initiatives.
February 28, 2017: H.R. 255 – “Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act”
As Trump said when he signed this legislation, it “enables the National Science Foundation to support women inventors — which there are many — researchers, and scientists in bringing their discoveries to the business world.”
Legislation that amends or expands upon existing laws
June 14, 2017: H.R. 657 – “Follow the Rules Act”
This law protects federal employees from retaliation for refusing to violate a federal rule or regulation. It expands upon the protections of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1987, which shields employees from backlash for refusing an order to violate federal law.
June 6, 2017: H.R. 366 – “DHS Stop Asset and Vehicle Excess Act” aka the “DHS SAVE Act”
This law amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and seeks to improve management of the Department of Homeland Security’s vehicle fleet. It authorizes the DHS undersecretary for management to oversee the fleet and requires regular analysis and evaluation of it.
June 2, 2017: S. 583 – American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017
This law amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to prioritize the hiring of veterans in the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
June 2, 2017: S. 419 – Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2017
This law also amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to “require adequate reporting on the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program.” This program provides death and education benefits to law enforcement officials, firefighters, and other first responders who are killed in the line of duty.
April 19, 2017: S. 544 – “An Act to amend the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes”
This law extends the “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014,” eliminating its August 7, 2017 sunset date and allowing it function until the money in the Veterans Choice Fund is gone. It also makes the VA the primary payer for “for medical care relating to non-service connected disabilities” and allows the VA to share medical information with non-VA agencies providing medical services to veterans.
Legislation related to funding or government operations
May 16, 2017: H.R. 274 – Modernizing Government Travel Act
This law requires the General Services Administration (GSA) to implement regulations that allow for reimbursement for travel using “innovative mobility technology” such as Uber, Lyft or bike-share programs.
May 5, 2017: H.R. 244 – “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017”
This omnibus bill provides $1.1 trillion to fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 2017). The President signed the bill into law just hours before the deadline, narrowly averting a government shutdown.
April 28, 2017: H.J.Res. 99 – “Joint Resolution making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2017, and for other purposes”
This resolution extended funding for the federal government until May 5 in order to prevent a shutdown.
April 19, 2017: S.J.Res. 36 – “Joint Resolution providing for the appointment of Roger W. Ferguson as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution;” S.J.Res. 35 – “Joint Resolution providing for the appointment of Michael Govan as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution;” S.J.Res. 30 – “Joint Resolution providing for the reappointment of Steve Case as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution”
These resolutions allowed for Roger Ferguson, the president and CEO of TIAA and Michael Govan, the CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to be appointed and Steve Case, the chairman of the Case Foundation, to be reappointed as citizen regents for the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Their six-year terms began on May 6.
April 18, 2017: H.R. 353 – “Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017”
This resolution aims to improve National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research methods and prioritizes “weather data, modeling, computing, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.”
April 3, 2017: H.R. 1228 – “An Act to provide for the appointment of members of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to replace members whose terms expire during 2017, and for other purposes”
This law allows new members to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance in order to replace members whose terms expire this year.
March 21, 2017: S.442 – “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017”
This bill authorized funding for NASA for “exploration, space operations, science, aeronautics, space technology, education, safety, security, and mission services, construction and environmental compliance and restoration, and the NASA Inspector General.”
January 31, 2017: H.R.72 – “GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017”
This law allows Government Accountability Office (GAO) to obtain federal agency records for the audit, evaluation, and investigative purposes.
January 20, 2017: S.84 – “A bill to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces”
This legislation allowed Trump to appoint James Mattis as Defense Secretary by granting him a special exemption from a law that stipulates any military official must wait seven years from leaving the service before serving as defense secretary.