Here are three of Trump’s recent executive orders to pay attention to.
What’s going on?
Trump has signed executive orders on three policies:
- Signaling our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations.
- Reinstating the “Mexico City policy” with regard to abortion, which puts certain restrictions on foreign aid.
- Instituting a federal hiring freeze.
Why is it important?
Withdrawing from TPP is difficult to gauge as wholly positive or negative, especially for an agreement that has never gone into effect. But for a President who campaigned so heavily against China, it’s curious that Trump would withdraw from an agreement designed in large part to curb Chinese trade dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Mexico City policy is one which previous Republican Presidents have put into place, and which Democratic Presidents always eliminate. In short, the policy requires that any non-governmental organization operating in a foreign country but which receives federal aid from the US refrain from discussing abortion (or even contraception more generally) in the course of their work. Note that this is more than a restriction on what can be done with federal money: such organizations are not allowed to promote or discuss abortion at all, regardless of what funds are being used for such promotion. It is worth noting that this is a common Republican policy, however, and in no way unique to Trump. No doubt anti-abortion Republicans got to him and obtained his agreement for this.
Finally, a federal hiring freeze is the first step in efforts to diminish the power and effectiveness of the federal government. Cynically, Trump is not freezing military hiring.
What can I do?
It depends on which of these issues you care about, if any. Contact your Congressional Representative and let them know how you feel about these policies. Remember, phone contact is best. Contact your Senators, as well.
The abortion issue is perhaps the most salient of these three, so if you choose to spread the word about one of these issues, try that one.
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