President Trump's First Hours In Office
Making good on his promise to get started on "Day 1," President Trump and his administration got right to work on Friday, taking steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and announcing the reversal of their predecessors' plans to reduce mortgage insurance premiums on federally insured home loans.
The new president signed an executive order to "minimize the economic burden" of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act pending its repeal, allowing government agencies not to enforce regulations that impose a financial burden on a state, company or individual.
Republican lawmakers have previously said that any repeal of the law would be immediately followed by a replacement, so that anyone who is insured through the ACA will not lose health insurance in the transition. But as NPR's Alison Kodjak reports, the executive order is broad enough that it might dismantle key provisions of the ACA before a plan for replacement is ready.
Reversal on housing insurance premium reduction
Within an hour of Trump's swearing in, the Federal Housing Authority also announced the reversal of planned cuts to interest premiums on FHA mortgages. Outgoing HUD secretary Julian Castro had ordered the reduction not two weeks before, estimating that the change would save eligible homeowners an average of $500 a year.
In a statement Senator Chuck Schumer said, "In one of his first acts as president, President Trump made it harder for Americans to afford a mortgage. Working class Americans, struggling Americans — now it's harder for them to get a mortgage." The Senator added in a tweet that "it only took an hour for those populist words delivered on the steps of the Capitol to ring hollow."
Revamping of Whitehouse.gov
Visitors to whitehouse.gov Friday afternoon noticed some immediate changes. Pages on climate change, LGBT issues, civil rights, and health care, have been replaced with pages on an "America First Energy Plan," "America First Foreign Policy," "Bringing Back Jobs and Growth," and "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community."
Department of Justice Decisions
Also just a few hours after inauguration, the Department of Justice requested and was granted the postponement of a hearing scheduled for Tuesday in a case challenging a Texas voter ID law. The department was scheduled to argue that the state law intentionally discriminated against Latino and African-American voters.
"It's a very disappointing outcome," Myrna Perez, Director of the Voting Rights and Elections Project at the Brennan Center for Justice, said Saturday in a phone interview. Perez is one of the litigators on the case. "This case has been in the courts for the better part of four years, and the people of Texas deserve an expeditious recovery of their constitutional rights."
The Justice Department also requested, and was granted, a delay for an initial hearing on a sweeping police reform agreement with the Baltimore Police Department. This comes just over a week after the city of Baltimore and the Justice department announced that they had reached a long-sought deal to attempt to mend the broken trust between the community and police after the death of Freddie Gray, and address systemic problems of excessive force and discrimination a DOJ investigation found in an investigation.
In an opinion from the Office of Legal Council, it concluded Friday that the appointing of President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner to a White House position did not fall under the prohibition of nepotism, because of the president's special hiring authority. Kushner stands behind the new president in photos as he signs his first executive order — beside another new addition to the Oval Office: gold drapes.
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