As a candidate, Donald Trump issued a “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” It contained 28 promises, and Trump says he is “mostly there on most items.” But is he? Our review of his action plan found he has kept some promises, broken a few, and there are many that are still a work in progress.
The president, as promised, did withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but he decided against labeling China a currency manipulator. He did allow the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward, but he has yet to propose legislation to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He did fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but his efforts to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions” have been blocked by the courts.
Once in office, Trump criticized “the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days.” He even questioned who within his campaign came up with a “100-day action plan.” He recently told the Associated Press “somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan,” even though Trump himself unveiled the 100-day plan at a campaign appearance on Oct. 22, 2016, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
We take no position on the significance or merits of the 100-day milestone, which dates to the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a fireside chat on July 24, 1933, FDR spoke of “the crowding events” of the first 100 days of a special congressional session called to counter the effects of the Great Depression, as explained by Penn State political science professor Robert Speel.
In Trump’s case, he did issue a 100-day action plan, so here we provide a status report on the priorities that the 45th president of the United States set for the start of his administration.
‘Corruption’ in Washington
Trump’s 100-day action plan is broken into four parts, with the first being six steps he said would help clean up the “corruption” in Washington.
FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
STATUS: Unfulfilled. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis introduced a joint resolution on Jan. 3, before Trump was sworn in, that proposed a constitutional amendment to impose term limits – two six-year terms for senators and three two-year terms for representatives. It was referred to committee and hasn’t had a hearing. Trump hasn’t publicly pushed the amendment. Numerous attempts to limit congressional terms have failed over the years, dating to at least the 1970s.
SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).
STATUS: Kept, temporarily. On Jan. 23, Trump issued a memorandum ordering a 90-day freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees, with exceptions — as promised — for military personnel (though not civilian workers who support the military) or any positions that department or agency heads deem “necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.” That temporary hiring freeze since has been lifted, though the Office of Management and Budget has initiated a long-term plan to shrink the size of the civilian federal workforce.
THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
STATUS: Promise kept. Trump signed an executive order on January 30 stating that “whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.” However, the order excludes “regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States; regulations related to agency organization, management, or personnel; or any other category of regulations exempted by the [Office of Management and Budget] director.”
FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
STATUS: Partially broken. On Jan. 28, Trump issued an executive order barring executive branch employees from lobbying the agency in which they served, for five years after their departure. It doesn’t address congressional officials — a step that would require congressional approval. And it only limits departed employees from lobbying the agency in which they served, leaving them free to lobby other parts of the government. The Trump order loosened the ethics restrictions implemented by President Obama in several areas. Moreover, Pro Publica highlighted three instances in which Trump may have skirted his own policy.
FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
STATUS: Fulfilled. Trump’s Jan. 28 executive order required all executive agency appointees to sign an ethics pledge that said an appointee “will not, at any time after the termination of my employment in the United States Government, engage in any activity on behalf of any foreign government or foreign political party” that would require registration as a foreign agent. The attorney general could pursue civil action against anyone who violates the ethics pledge, although the president or his designee has the authority to grant waivers.
SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
STATUS: Unfulfilled. This was not part of Trump’s executive order on ethics and lobbying.
The second part of Trump’s plan includes seven actions to “protect American workers.”
FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
STATUS: Promise kept. On April 26, Trump told the leaders of Canada and Mexico via phone that he would work with them to renegotiate the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement. “President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement about the call. That wasn’t long after an administration official reportedly said that Trump’s staff had been preparing an executive order that would have started the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the trade agreement. In a tweet on April 27, Trump said he agreed to renegotiate “subject to the fact that if we do not reach a fair deal for all, we will then terminate NAFTA.”
SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
STATUS: Promise kept. Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Jan. 23 withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.
STATUS: Promise broken. Trump has changed his position on China. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on April 12, Trump said “they’re not currency manipulators” when talking about China. “Mr. Trump said the reason he has changed his mind on one of his signature campaign promises is that China hasn’t been manipulating its currency for months and because taking the step now could jeopardize his talks with Beijing on confronting the threat of North Korea,” the Journal reported. He also told the Associated Press that China stopped devaluing its currency after he took office out of respect for him and fear of what he would do. In fact, financial experts – including within his own Treasury Department – said China stopped manipulating currency about three years ago.
FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.
STATUS: Promise kept. Trump signed an executive order on March 31 giving the secretary of commerce, and the as-yet-unconfirmed U.S. trade representative, 90 days from the date of the order to “prepare and submit to the President an Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits.”
FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
STATUS: Started, but not finished. Trump signed an executive order on March 28 directing that “executive departments and agencies immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.” The order also rescinded at least four executive orders and presidential memorandums on energy and climate change that were signed by President Obama.
SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.
STATUS: Promise kept. Trump’s State Department issued a presidential permit to TransCanada on March 24 authorizing the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. And in February, two months after the Obama administration halted construction, Trump’s Army Corps of Engineers reversed course and gave an Energy Transfer Partners subsidiary, Dakota Access LLC, the authority to finish building the Dakota Access pipeline.
SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.
STATUS: Needs congressional approval. Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 “discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts.” It also says that it “provides robust funding for critical drinking and wastewater infrastructure,” but doesn’t specify an amount. The proposal does provide $20 million to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, but that funding is flat compared with fiscal 2017.
Security and Rule of Law
FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
STATUS: Depends on your definition of “unconstitutional.” The difficulty in tracking this promise, of course, is knowing which of Obama’s executive actions, memorandum or orders Trump considers unconstitutional. We can say this: Trump has taken action to reverse a number of Obama’s orders. In one order issued on March 27, Trump revoked two Obama executive orders that sought to ensure federal contractors abide by labor and civil rights laws, which included provisions designed to ensure equal pay protection for women with rules such as paycheck transparency. Trump also signed an order to undo Obama’s climate change efforts; abolished Obama’s White House Rural Council; reinstated a ban on abortion funding overseas; revisited Obama’s limitations on carbon pollution from power plants and wetland protection; lifted Obama’s moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands; and substituted Obama’s ethics rules with his own, weakening some of the rules on lobbyists working for the administration. On the other hand, Trump has not taken any action to rescind Obama’s 2012 order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects eligible undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and authorizes them to legally work in the country. Some conservatives have challenged DACA as unconstitutional and have criticized Trump for failing to repeal it.
SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
STATUS: Promise kept. Trump kept this promise very early in his presidency when on Jan. 31 he nominated federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch — one of 21 judges on a list Trump released during the campaign — to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate confirmed Gorsuch on April 7, with a vote of 54-45. He was sworn in as the 113th Supreme Court justice three days later.
THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.
STATUS: So far, blocked by courts. On Jan. 25, Trump issued an executive order that states that “sanctuary jurisdictions” that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal laws on required cooperation between local governments and federal immigration enforcement “are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary [of Homeland Security].” However, on April 25, a judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked Trump’s order, saying that only Congress could limit federal spending in that way. Trump, via Twitter, vowed to appeal the ruling.
FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.
STATUS: Effort made, results remain to be seen. For starters, as we have written before, there are not “more than 2 million criminal illegal aliens” in the U.S. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimated in 2013 that there are 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” in the U.S. But that includes noncitizens living in the U.S. legally, so they are not all in the country illegally.
As for what Trump is doing about those that are “criminal illegal immigrants,” the Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines in February, as the Washington Post explained, to “hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.”
It may, however, be too early to tell how effective those changes have been in targeting criminals who are in the country illegally. ICE provided us with data initially requested by the Washington Post that show between Jan. 20 and March 13 of this year, there were arrests of 15,921 people in the country illegally who committed crimes — up 15 percent from the 13,862 during the same period in 2016. The total this year under Trump was roughly the same as the number during the same period in 2015 (15,689), and lower than the total in 2014 (21,745).
As for canceling visas to foreign countries that do not cooperate with deportations, Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that states, “The Secretary of State shall, to the maximum extent permitted by law, ensure that diplomatic efforts and negotiations with foreign states include as a condition precedent the acceptance by those foreign states of their nationals who are subject to removal from the United States.” According to testimony from ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale, ICE found that as of May 2016, there were 23 “recalcitrant” countries that refused to take back criminals who are in the country illegally. So how many of them have now been denied visas? The Washington Post reported on April 8 that the State Department has not yet acted on that part of Trump’s order.
FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.
STATUS: So far, blocked by federal court. Trump has taken two cracks at this, and both have been stymied by the courts. Trump’s first attempt came on Jan. 27 with an executive order that sought to impose a 90-day travel ban, with some exceptions, on the citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also suspended the refugee program for 120 days, and indefinitely for Syrian refugees. However, the courts blocked that ban. So on March 6, Trump took another stab at it, with a revised order that sought to impose a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of six countries (Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen) who do not have valid visas, and to suspend the refugee program for 120 days. But that, too, has been blocked in federal court. Trump has vowed to appeal that ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
As for the implementation of “extreme vetting” measures, the Department of Homeland Security told USA Today on April 4 that no progress had been made on that yet.
Trump also promised to “work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration.”
The list includes 10 pieces of legislation. Only one of the 10 — a House bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — has been introduced, but that bill was pulled when it failed to get enough support to pass.
Here is a list of the 10 pieces of proposed legislation, as promised and described by the Trump campaign’s action plan, followed by our status report on each:
Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act. An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. On April 26, Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, presented what he called a “broad-brush overview” of the tax plan that the president is negotiating with Congress. Among other things, the plan would: Reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three (35 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent); double standard deductions, but eliminate all deductions except for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions; eliminate the estate tax and Alternative Minimum Tax, two taxes paid by high-income earners; and cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Treasurer Steve Mnuchin described the plan as a “massive tax cut for businesses and massive tax reform in simplification,” and predicted the administration will “get this done this year.”
End The Offshoring Act. Establishes 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.
STATUS: Has not been introduced.
American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told the Boston Globe on April 21 that she expects the transportation plan to be unveiled in the summer.
School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and makes 2 and 4-year college more affordable.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. However, the administration in March released a preliminary fiscal year 2018 budget that proposes a $1.4 billion increase in funding for charter schools and other school-choice programs, even as it calls for cutting the overall education budget by $9 billion, or 14 percent.
Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
STATUS: Bill was introduced March 6. A House bill supported by the administration — the American Health Care Act — was scheduled for a vote March 24. But House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill because it did not have enough votes to pass. The 100-day action plan promised a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but the House plan would not have fully repealed the law — one reason why the conservative Freedom Caucus opposed the bill. Negotiations are currently underway.
Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act. Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. The president’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, had indicated that the proposed child-care deduction would be part of the tax cut deal that the administration is currently negotiating with Congress. At the April 26 press briefing on the tax plan, Cohn said it would include “tax relief to help [families] with child and dependent care expenses,” but he provided no details.
End Illegal Immigration Act. Fully-funds 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; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. The administration attempted to include $1.4 billion toward construction of the wall in a funding bill that was needed to avert a government shutdown. But the president withdrew the funding request and now says he will seek the funding in September.
Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. Trump signed an executive order in February creating the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The administration has not offered legislation that would provide addition funding for local law enforcement, but its proposed FY2018 budget seeks an additional $175 million for the U.S. Department of Justice to combat criminal gangs.
Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. However, the administration has taken steps to address most of these goals through other means. In his proposed FY2018 budget, Trump calls for $603 billion in base defense spending, an increase of 9.4 percent from the current $551 billion, and “$61 million more to fight terrorism and combat foreign intelligence and cyber threats.” As mentioned earlier, the administration has yet to establish new screening proceedings.
Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.
STATUS: Has not been introduced. However, as we said earlier, Trump has issued an executive order that imposes restrictions on lobbying by former members of the executive branch after they leave government.
The White House website lists all the bills and resolutions that the president has signed.