The Trump Administration’s Record on Changing Federal Laws 

President Trump frequently boasts about his Administration’s claimed record of “legislative” accomplishments and his signing many “bills.” This claim is often seen as ridiculous since there have been no major bills passed by Congress so far since Trump’s inauguration.

Perhaps Mr. Trump is just loose with his language or does not really know the difference between legislation and regulations.

In any event, the Washington Post’s Philip Bump has examined another facet of changing federal law:  repealing or rescinding regulations by federal agencies or other executive branch actions. He discovered at least 45 such actions coupled with a request for readers to notify him of any others.[1] Here is a table of these actions:

Category Significant Examples Number
Economy Withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership; ending limits on states’ drug testing of those seeking unemployment benefits   8
Justice System Rescinded Obama effort to reduce mandatory minimum criminal sentences   4
Environment Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement 17
Foreign Policy & Immigration Limit number of migrants & refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries   4
Education Withdrew federal protection for transgender students in schools   4
Other Rescinded rule banning gun sales to those deemed “mentally defective”   8
TOTAL   45

On MSNBC’s August 24th “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Mr. Bump said Trump’s supporters wanted him to take these actions to dismantle the federal government and, therefore, they were pleased with this record. Connie Schultz, a Cleveland-based writer and journalist, also appearing on this show, pointed out that some of these changes in regulations were targeted on people applying for unemployment (ending limits on states’ drug testing of those seeking unemployment benefits) and on poor people of color (rescission of reduction of mandatory minimum sentences).[2]

In any event, we should thank Mr. Bump for doing this analysis and reminding us that significant things are happening in this administration without any action by the Congress.


[1] Bump, What Trump has undone, Wash. Post (Aug. 24, 2017).

[2]  The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, MSNBC (Aug. 24, 2017).



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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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