DC Digest – March 10, 2017

Today is President Trump’s 50th day in office. Though legally of no consequence, the first three months of a President’s tenure is often the only chance he has to set the legislative agenda and therefore the tone of Washington in the coming years. This year, the Trump Administration launched a myriad of executive actions and legislative topics. As part of our series tracking the new Administration, we decided the first fifty days was a good time to take a break from ceaseless news briefings and to take a slightly more atmospheric view of the pace of events. 

 In Today’s Issue:

  • Executive Order Recap
  • Appointee Watch 
  • Who is in the 115th Congress?
  • Obamacare Replacement Mark-Up
  • New Immigration Order Challenged
  • New Ed Hires
  • Judge to Rule in DACA CASE
  • DeVos Met With LGBT Groups

EXECUTIVE ORDERS

Since taking office January 20, President Trump has signed 34 Executive Orders.

This number is not far off from historic precedent. Between Inauguration Day and Jan. 31, Trump signed seven Executive Orders and 11 memos; in the same timeframe, Obama signed nine orders and 10 memos.

The Consecutive Executive

APPOINTEE WATCH

President Trump has sent 33 appointees to the Senate for confirmation with 18 already confirmed.

He has sent nominations to the Senate at a faster pace than most recent presidents, but has struggled to get those nominees confirmed. He trails President Obama on both measures.

Appointee Spree

Roughly 500 appointees do not require Senate approval. These make up the so called “beachhead” teams deployed to various government agencies and departments.

The beachhead team members are temporary employees serving for stints of four to eight months, but many are expected to move into permanent jobs. The Trump Administration’s model is based on plans developed, but never used, by the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

Beachhead Embed

A PORTRAIT OF THE CONGRESS AS A QUICK SCAN

The Congressional Research Service released its profile of the 115th congress. The report details data on average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service.

Get to Know Your Congress

LEAVE YOUR MARK

The House Budget Committee will begin marking up its Obamacare repeal legislation (The American Healthcare Act, AHCA) Wednesday, according to a committee spokesperson.

The GOP bill went to the budget panel after a combined 44 hours of debate in two key committees since Wednesday morning. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said the House will pass the measure, likely over the objections of some conservatives, by the end of March. The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee completed its 27-hour markup yesterday.

The official Congressional Budget Office score of the AHCA, which details the cost and effects of the bill, is expected early next week.

STATES CHALLENGE IMMIGRATION ORDER

At least five states are taking legal action to block parts of Trump’s new travel ban.

“We’re asserting that the president cannot unilaterally declare himself free of the court’s restraining order and injunction,” Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “This is not a new lawsuit. … It’s our view that that temporary restraining order that we’ve already obtained remains in effect. And the burden is on the federal government to explain why it does not.”

Continuing Legal Fight

NEW ED DEPARTMENT HIRES

Eighteen new faces are joining the Trump Administration’s Education Department this week: Michael Chamberlain, Sarah Delahunty, Jeffrey Riemer, Neil Ruddock and Lee Simmons. A least one — Ruddock — is a former lobbyist, registered with the state of Indiana in 2015. He was also regional advocacy director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the education advocacy group founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Staffers Join On

JUDGE TO RULE IN DACA CASE

The 23-year-old facing deportation will have to wait until next week to hear his fate. A federal judge who heard arguments in the case — in which attorneys are arguing Daniel Ramirez Medina and more than 750,000 others covered by Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals are constitutionally protected — did not issue a ruling on Wednesday and said he’d aim to have his mind made up by early next week.

DEVOS MET WITH LGBT GROUPS

DeVos on Wednesday met with LGBT advocates, families and students, who shared their concerns about the Trump Administration’s recent withdrawal of an Obama directive aimed at protecting transgender students.

“We … discussed ways that she might be able to mitigate the pain, fear, and confusion that decision has caused,” the group GLSEN said in a statement. “We described the years of experience, research, and careful policy-making behind the original Title IX guidance and all of the emerging best practices it helped to publicize.”