June ushered in a series of important political wins for Pres. Donald J. Trump, although key campaign objectives such as tax reform and repealing and replacing ObamaCare remain in limbo. The president’s recent appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, was active in Mr. Trump’s largest political gain to date, his executive order implementing a travel ban. The 45th President of the United States also engaged in an ongoing social media feud with CNN, among other mainstream media outlets. However, major policy actions that affect everyday Americans include the following:
Travel Ban: The 90-day ban on travelers without a bona fide U.S. relative or business that requires visit and a 120-day moratorium on refuges passed muster at the SCOTUS. The high court went 9-0 in affirming the president’s authority. The justices will take up minor issues in the executive order for arguments. Three justices already indicated they will vote in the White House’s favor regarding unresolved elements.
Cuba Policy: Pres. Trump announced that he will curtail the Obama Administration’s economic policies toward Cuba which allow the Caribbean island nation to enjoy an influx of American money and investment. Mr. Trump declined to restore the “wet-foot, dry-foot” immigration policy that saw thousands of Cubans to attempt to sail to the Florida coast on makeshift boats. In a Florida speech, Mr. Trump called on Cuba to restore human rights, release political prisoners and stop harboring criminals who fled the U.S. before advancing relations. The president did not cut off diplomatic ties or backtrack on established travel between the countries.
Veterans Affairs: On June 13, Pres. Trump signed legislation that would make it procedurally easier for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to dismiss employees for misconduct. Deemed the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, the new law also enhances worker protections to those who report negligence and misconduct.
Kate’s Law: As part of the White House’s policy cracking down on criminal illegal aliens, the U.S. House of Representatives pushed through Trump-backed legislation that would increase prison sentences and penalties for re-entering the country illegally. Pres. Trump repeatedly highlighted this position, most notably during his first nationally-televised speech before Congress and top government officials. The White House awaits the Bill’s passage through the Senate.
Energy Week: Key cabinet members, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA chief Scott Pruitt pressed the White House agenda for U.S. “Energy Dominance.” Bringing together policies regarding renewable, fossil fuel and other resources, the White House advocated the nation become self-sufficient to the point of emerging as a prominent energy exporter, less reliant on foreign oil. The White House considers energy independence a national security issue and aims to reduce the ability of foreign entities to use it as economic leverage.
Paris Accord: Pres. Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. During a Rose Garden announcement, Mr. Trump detailed that the agreement was largely funded by billions in American taxpayer dollars and did little to curb climate change. The pact would also likely cost the nation thousands of jobs and major polluters such as China and India would be held to a lower standard. The president asserted that he would be open to reaching a global agreement that effectively addressed emissions and supported American interests.
Workforce Initiative: During June “Infrastructure Week,” Ivanka Trump rolled out a preview of the White House “apprenticeship” policy. Currently, there are 6 million available jobs that private-sector companies struggle to fill. The Administration has engaged with private companies to increase its already hefty investment into apprenticeships with high schools, technical schools, two-year colleges and other institutions to work with people to grow the skills necessary to move into good-paying jobs. The policy has been touted as a private-to-private pathway that utilizes little to no taxpayer dollars while putting greater emphasis on skill-based education and training.
Follow the Rule Act: Pres. Trump signed H.R. 657, a law that prohibits forcing federal employees to obey directives which are contrary to current rules or regulations. The intent is to curb agency overreach.
End of Obama ‘Slush Fund’ Abuse: With Congress cutting funds to liberal policies initiatives, the Obama Justice Department required corporate defendants to pay monetary penalties directly to Left-leaning organizations. In 2016, for example, Volkswagen was forced to send $2 billion to zero-emission technology organizations. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session has halted the practice. Government imposed penalties now go directly to the U.S. Treasury.
Air Traffic Control Reform: The president announced a plan to remove air traffic control industry from the FAA and move it into a nonprofit-run organization funded by user fees instead of tax dollars. The policy initiative is consistent with countries such as Canada that made the change in 1996 and utilize next generation technology to achieve increased efficiency and improved flight safety.