Something So Wrong: April 2017

  • On April 4, Trump issued a new executive order regarding the makeup of the National Security Council. The new order reversed Trump’s January 28 order. The new order removed Steve Bannon from the National Security Council and restored the Joint Chiefs Chairman and the Director of National Intelligence to positions on the Principals Committee. The change came on the advice of National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster.
  • On April 7, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Because the Republicans lacked the 60 votes needed to close debate on the Gorsuch nomination, they voted to change the rules (using the so-called “nuclear option”) to allow confirmation by a simple majority.
  • On April 7, in response to the April 4 Syrian government chemical weapons attack in opposition-held Idlib province resulting in the death of many civilians, Trump authorized a 60-missile strike against a Syrian military air base. Trump ordered the strike without consulting Congress in advance.
  • On April 25, in San Francisco, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the executive order that Trump issued on January 27, which blocked federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The judge noted that the Constitution vests the spending power in Congress and reasoned that the president “cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds.”
  • On April 26, Donald Trump proposed tax reforms that would reduce the top corporate tax rate to 15 percent, reduce the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three, double the standard deduction while eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, and eliminate the estate tax and the alternative-minimum tax. The administration’s “plan” was a one-page outline with no details provided.
  • On April 26, the House Freedom Caucus endorsed a more conservative version of a health care reform bill. The proposal included waivers to allow insurers to avoid coverage requirements for essential health benefits and to charge higher premiums based on a person’s “health status.” These waivers would not apply to health insurance for members of Congress. The House will take action on the proposal if Speaker Ryan determines there are sufficient votes to pass it.
  • On April 28, Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Secretary of the Interior to review the locations available for offshore drilling under a five-year plan President Obama signed in November. The order reversed Obama’s order in December that closed certain areas in the Arctic Ocean and Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas leasing.

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