As President Donald Trump signs a new executive order on Tuesday to spur both the hiring of American workers and the purchase of American products by the federal government, those type of executive actions represent most of the progress made on his agenda in his first three months in office, as the Congress remains grounded on health care, tax reform and other legislative priorities.
While Republicans growled about President Barack Obama using his “pen and his phone” on executive orders and actions, the GOP looks at things much differently, now that their party is setting that Executive Branch agenda.
“The executive orders that he’s signing are all consistent with the promises that he made to the American people on the campaign trail,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at a Monday briefing.
“And so I would argue that we’re going to continue to see the President not only keep his word but be rewarded by the American people on that front,” Spicer added.
But while the executive orders generate headlines, they also are limited – just like the executive actions taken by President Obama, which can be overturned with a signature by Mr. Trump.
The executive actions also don’t apply to the entire country – like a regular law passed by the Congress – but instead, they apply only to the Executive Branch, and the functions of the federal government.
For example, in the order to be signed by the President in Wisconsin, federal agencies will have to conduct a review of whether they are properly buying American products, and a report will be given to the President in 220 days.
“This report and its recommendations will serve as a blueprint for additional executive and regulatory actions to further strengthen Buy American, as well as guide possible legislative proposals,” a senior Administration official told reporters at a briefing on Monday.
Mr. Trump has already issued close to two dozen executive orders, and another twenty actions that set out administration policy on a variety of matters, from climate change to trade and federal hiring – and they are very popular with his supporters.
Along with the White House rolling back orders of his predecessor, the GOP Congress has delivered a number of other measures designed to repeal specific rules and regulations from the Obama Administration.
But the time frame for approving those runs out in May, limiting the impact of those actions.
Still, look for the Trump executive actions, along with the regulatory votes in Congress, plus the Justice Gorsuch confirmation, to compose most of the achievements of Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office – that date is April 29.