Politics

Is Trump Keeping His Promises? Checking in After Six Months

July 20th 2017

By:
Mike Rothschild

Thursday, July 20 marks six months since President Trump took office. In that time, despite boasts from the president that he has "signed more bills ... than any president, ever," Trump has in fact passed virtually no legislation of consequence, signing either reversals of Obama-era regulations or standard, ceremonial bills. 

Author Brian Klass summed up the inaction of the opening months of the Trump era by taking 10 bills Trump promised he would introduce during his first 100 days and crossing out the ones that hadn't been voted on in Congress yet, much less made into law. He wound up crossing them all out.

"I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration," Trump said during a speech in Gettysburg last October, laying out his "action plan" to "make America great again."

Here's what hasn't happened since.

1. Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act

Trump pitched this as a way to "grow the economy 4 percent per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification." However, no bill with this name has been introduced into Congress. Trump did introduce a plan to cut taxes and reduce the number of tax brackets, but polling shows that only 40 percent of Republican voters approve of it. With the likely failure of healthcare reform, it appears tax reform is shaping up to be the next big push from the administration.

 

2. End the Offshoring Act

This bill would "establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free." No bill with this name currently exists, and after a brief slowdown in offshoring, jobs are being shipped to Mexico at the rate they were before Trump took office. 

3. American Energy and Infrastructure Act

Trump made repairing the country's aging infrastructure a priority on the campaign trial, and it was one of the few issues where pundits speculated he'd find common ground with Democrats. But despite his pledge to "spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years," almost nothing has happened with respect to infrastructure repair.

This bill doesn't exist; Trump's plan has been criticized as merely a series of tax breaks adding up to far less than $1 trillion; and June's "Infrastructure Week" at the White House became a media punchline, overshadowed by former FBI director James Comey's Senate testimony.

4. School Choice and Education Opportunity Act

This bill, sold as redirecting "education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice"—and to "make college more affordable"—has not been introduced.

Trump's budget does increase funding for vouchers and charter schools, but this draft likely won't survive congressional scrutiny, and it provides far less money than the $20 billion Trump pledged to direct toward "school choice."

5. Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act

During his campaign, Trump made getting rid of the Affordable Care Act a priority, even claiming that he'd do it on his first day in office. However, while Trump claimed he would "fully repeal Obamacare" in favor of "Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and let[ting] states manage Medicaid funds," a plan to do that has never been proposed.

Meanwhile,, the congressional effort to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a different bill only narrowly escaped the House and has since died in the Senate. Trump himself put little effort into selling any version of the bill, claiming that he "never said" replacing Obamacare would be quick. He has repeatedly shifted his position on what should be done next. 

6. Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act

No such bill exists in any form. While Ivanka Trump has released a proposal for making childcare more affordable, the plan has been criticized as a tax credit for the wealthy that will be of little use to working families. Her plan, likewise, has found little support in Congress. 

7. End Illegal Immigration Act

Trump's plan to "fully fund the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall" has gone nowhere. The wall, sold as a "big, beautiful," and impenetrable concrete barrier stretching 2,000 miles, has not been fully funded, and the money that has been set aside for it comes from U.S. taxpayers.

The bill Trump named in his Gettysburg speech doesn't exist.

8. Restoring Community Safety Act

A law that would "reduce surging crime, drugs and violence" by funneling more money to local and federal police—this is, so far, the only proposal that Trump has actually put forward in any form. In February, he signed an executive order creating a task force on crime. The task force hasn't given any recommendations yet, but it appears to already be working with city governments to address crime. 

9. Restoring National Security Act

This yet-to-be-written bill would massively increase military spending, reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, "protect our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack," and increase vetting for immigrants. Trump has taken action on immigration, some of which has been blocked by courts, and extended a 2014 program letting veterans obtain private health care. And the massive defense spending increase Trump proposed might be increased even more by the House. However, nothing has been done about cyber-security or the sequester. 

10. Clean up Corruption in Washington Act

The vague "ethics reforms" promised by this bill hasn't come to pass, and no legislation to "drain the swamp" has been introduced into Congress. However, the head of the Office of Government Ethics did recently resign