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Under a Rock: Has America Hit the Wall with Trump’s Policies?

President+Trump+has+been+working+a+lot+since+his+inauguration+
President Trump has been working a lot since his inauguration

President Trump has been working a lot since his inauguration

Courtesy of CNN

Courtesy of CNN

President Trump has been working a lot since his inauguration

Rosie Eldridge, Sentry Staff Reporter

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As President Barack Obama goes, so go his policies regarding affordable healthcare, federal funding and foreign relations. Newly elected President of the United States Donald J. Trump has an entirely different vision for the future of America. He plans to “Make America Great Again” through his implementation of executive orders.

 

Foreign Affairs

One of Trump’s first actions as President of the United States (POTUS) was the withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a coalition of 12 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean (now 11: Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru) that establishes trade agreements and economic relations amongst these countries. The organization accounts for 40% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and one-third of global trade. Despite Obama’s approval of this bipartisan trade deal, Trump is opposed to this “divisive” partnership. He feels as though cheaper goods and increased growth of economic activity are not worth the expense of tariffs on manufactured goods and the loss of US jobs to overseas countries. Even Trump’s political opponents Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton expressed their disapproval of US involvement in the TPP.

Aside from trade deals, Trump has also ordered the immediate construction of a wall between Mexico and the US in order to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the US. The wall will stretch as far as 1,000 miles and cost anywhere from $15 billion to $20 billion. There is one big question circulating: Who is going to pay for the wall? And where will they get the funds? “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively–I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” Trump said during his announcement speech, before he was elected as POTUS. Mexico supposedly is going to pay for a border that they do not want. In fact, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his meeting scheduled with Trump due to unsettled controversy over the wall. In addition, those who oppose the construction of the wall claim that they will simply tear it down as soon as Trump leaves office, similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany when the Cold War was coming to an end.

The most recent of Trump’s executive orders is the ban on immigration from seven countries in the Middle East including Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Yemen. This order bars citizens of these predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US within the next 90 days and bars refugees from being admitted into the US for the next 120 days; Syrian refugees are not permitted entrance until further notice. These countries supposedly pose national security threats to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows citizens from select countries to travel to the US without a visa for up to 90 days. Not only is this an immigration ban, but it is also a travel ban. Those impacted are visitors, students and workers who were temporarily visiting countries in the Middle East and are now trying to return to the States, new immigrants attempting to enter the US, refugees and certain green card holders. There has been an immense outcry of disapproval of the ban which has led to protests in airports across the country, encouraging and reassuring immigrants that they are welcome in America. As of now, the status of the ban is pending. Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington James L. Robart recently ruled that the travel, immigration, and refugee ban is unconstitutional, which prompted its temporarily lift while it is still under consideration. It is likely that this case will be taken to the Supreme Court. In another order, Trump is planning to defund sanctuary cities that protect illegal immigrants from being handed over and deported by federal authorities.

 

Healthcare

Trump kicked off his presidential term by beginning the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as “Obamacare.” Obamacare was created by Obama when he was president in order to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable for all Americans. Without Obamacare, many Americans will lose their health insurance because it is too expensive to pay for without financial assistance from the federal government. There are aspects of the ACA that are favored by many, such as children staying on their parents’ health plan until age 26 and not denying people insurance based on pre-existing conditions. Despite these benefits, Trump views it as an economic burden that is too expensive; he believes that he has the ability to provide people with improved care at a lower cost. However, many people fear that they will be left without health coverage because he lacks a plan to replace Obamacare. Trump also recently signed the Mexico City Policy (originally introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984), which backs no federal funding for abortions. The policy does not fund non-governmental organizations that provide abortions, counseling or referral to abortion services. This means that groups such as Planned Parenthood will lose federal funding and may not be able to provide health services to women, one of those services being safe abortions. Subsequently, this policy is placing a global gag rule on abortion. Foreign countries that usually receive aid from the US will be defunded if they do not abide by the gag rule; so those who provide medical services, both in the US and in foreign countries financially funded by the US, are not permitted to discuss abortion as an option for women as long as they continue to be funded by the US government.

 

Federal Government and Administration

Currently, there is a hiring freeze in the federal government. This means that no one is being hired for executive positions with the exception of members of the armed services. The freeze will not be lifted until Trump’s new cabinet members are confirmed by the Senate. Many congressional Democrats have voiced opposition towards some of Trump’s cabinet members during congressional hearings; however, the Republican Party holds a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Trump has appointed many cabinet members so far, such as Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Many Democrats and Republicans agree that she is unqualified for the position because she is a billionaire who has little to no affiliation with public schools; instead of strengthening public schools, she plans to expand charter schools and voucher programs. Despite the Republican majority in the Senate, two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are not in support of DeVos and voted against her. Many people worry that the future of education is at risk because DeVos has officially been appointed as the Secretary of Education after US Vice President Mike Pence casted his vote for her, breaking the 50-50 tie.

 

Environment

Just before Obama left office he disapproved the construction of two major pipelines, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which begins in North Dakota and runs through South Dakota, Iowa and all the way to Illinois; and the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL) that begins in Alberta, Canada and runs southward all the way to Illinois and Texas. Both of these pipelines were designed to easily transport crude oil to facilities that will distribute the oil around the country. Despite numerous protests against the construction of these pipelines, Trump went back on Obama’s decision and has chosen to move forward with them. People are standing up against the DAPL, for it infringes on treaty rights of the Sioux and their territory at Standing Rock, a Native American reservation. Both the DAPL and KXL are lucrative infrastructure projects that create jobs at the expense of destroying the environment. Additionally, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) choice, Scott Pruitt, is skeptical of climate change’s negative impacts on the environment. “The Trump administration has let the fossil fuel industry hijack the EPA in broad daylight,” May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said.

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Under a Rock: Has America Hit the Wall with Trump’s Policies?