The Trump administration has taken a series of steps to cut funding for abortion providers and promote conservative reproductive policies, moving forward what supporters and opponents say could be the most antiabortion presidential agenda in recent memory.
Few of the actions have drawn much attention on their own but activists on both sides say that cumulatively they amount to an unusually broad offensive against abortion and contraception. [WSJ, 9/16-17/17]
The Trump administration has told 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living in the United States for nearly 20 years under Temporary Protected Status that they must leave the country within 14 months or change their residency status. The Temporary Protected Status was established during the Clinton administration after Hurricane Mitch hit Central America in 1998. This status has been routinely renewed through the 8 years of George W. Bush’s administration and the 8 years of Barack Obama’s administration.
This group is just the tip of the iceberg. There are 57,000 Hondurans living in the United States under the same status. The Department of Homeland Security apparently needs more time to consider their fate. 400,000 Salvadorans and 50,000 Haitians will have their current status expire next year. [Washington Post, 11/7/17]
“The Army Corp of Engineers has filed notice in a court case that it is reconsidering the current ban on carrying firearms on its land (all federal lands); the Justice Department narrowed the definition of fugitives barred from purchasing weapons; and the Interior Department lifted a federal ban on hunting with lead ammunition in national parks.”
A bill that the President signed blocked the Social Security Administration from reporting mentally impaired recipients to a national background-check data base. [Washington Post, 10/5/17]
By 51-50 vote in the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote, bank customers will still be subject to what are known as mandatory arbitration clauses. These clauses are buried in the fine print of nearly every checking account, credit card, payday loan, auto loan or other financial services contract and require customers to use arbitration to resolve any dispute with his or her bank. They effectively waive the customer’s right to sue.
A proposed regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have largely restricted mandatory arbitration clauses by 2019. [AP, 10/25/17]
The Trump administration rejected a Department of Health and Human Services report showing that refugees brought in “$63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost,” per the New York Times, arguing that it was “delivered by someone with an ideological agenda,” and refugees from war-torn countries “are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.”
Chief policy adviser Stephen Miller has reportedly encouraged Trump to cap the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. well below 50,000 due to concerns about terrorism and the belief that refugees are “too costly.”
Subsequently, the administration has set the annual cap for refugees admitted to the United States to 47,000. This is the first time the cap has fallen below 67,000, the number set by President Reagan in 1986. [Washington Post]
The Mine Health and Safety Administration is trying to relax a hard rock mining inspections rule that was published three days after President Barack Obama left office. They are now allowing safety inspectors to do their reviews while miners continue working and not requiring companies to record hazardous conditions if they are immediately corrected. This rule change means that miners would have to work in an area that had not passed an MHSA safety inspection. [Washington Post, 9/14]
The Trump administration issued a rule Friday that sharply limits the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, a move that could mean many American women would no longer have access to birth control free of charge.
The new regulation, issued by the Health and Human Services Department, allows a much broader group of employers and insurers to exempt themselves from covering contraceptives such as birth control pills on religious or moral grounds.
The decision, anticipated from the Trump administration for months, is the latest twist in a seesawing legal and ideological fight that has surrounded this aspect of the 2010 health-care law nearly from the start.
Several religious groups who battled the Obama administration for years over the controversial requirement, welcomed the action. [Washington Post, 10/16/17]
Attorney General Sessions has reversed a three year old policy of the Justice Department that Transgender people were protected from workplace discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [Washington Post, 10/6/17]
In a case dealing with employee collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Board and the Justice Department had both supported the position that employees were not bound by arbitration clauses in their employment agreements when briefs were filed in the Supreme Court. In the oral argument before the Supreme Court, The Trump Justice department changed the department’s position and sided with the employers. [Washington Post, 10/3/17]
The Trump administration has decided to freeze a rule scheduled to go into effect in 2018 that would require employers to report additional information about employees and wages to the EEOC. The goal of the rule was to solve issues of equal pay, particularly between men and women. Ivanka Trump, who advises the President on women in the workplace, supported the decision to halt the rule. [Washington Post]
A 2012 study by the Treasury Office of Tax Analysis showed that most of the burden of corporate taxes were born by investors. That study was posted on the Treasury website. When Secretary Mnuchin claimed that most of the burden was born by workers as a way to argue for corporate tax cuts, his statements were challenged based on the findings of that 2012 paper. The paper then disappeared from the Treasury website. [Washington Post, 10/3/17]