Stories keep popping up saying that Trump's tweets, accusations, and his Administration's off-the-wall remarks are a distraction from the truth. Media attention continues to focus on stories such as Obama's supposed wiretapping, Kellyanne Conway's microwaves and "not being in the business of evidence", Trump's handshake mishaps, Ivanka Trump's clothing line being dropped by major retailers. While these stories are telling of the Administration, what are they actually covering up?
While we were all distracted by these "news" stories, over 2,000 bills have been introduced to Congress during the Trump Administration. For a full list of these bills, see the Congress website's collection. Below are 14 of some of the most controversial bills.
For additional resources on these bills, visit https://www.countable.us/ to learn about current political affairs, legislation, and bills broken down to layman's terms, and more.
HR 83: Mobilize Against Sanctuary Cities
This bill would stop all federal funding for at least one year to sanctuary cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco, who have said they would not abide by Trump's deportation policies.
HR 147: Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
This bill would impose criminal penalties on any institution or individual performing abortions for any reason. If signed into law, punishment for this practice would include fines or imprisonment for up to five years.
HR 354: Defund Planned Parenthood
This bill would prevent federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood or any affiliates for one year unless they prove that no funds will be used for abortions (except in the case of rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions). Interestingly, however, this bill neglects the fact that abortions only account for 3% of what Planned Parenthood offers, and there are already regulations against federal funds being used for abortion purposes through the Hyde Amendment. The majority of Planned Parenthood resources and funding centers around providing low-income and at-risk women with quality health care.
HR 610: Vouchers for Public Education
This bill aims to change how federal tax dollars are distributed among schools (private, public, and home), giving a portion of grants to vouchers for private and home schools and thus potentially devastating public schools. Additionally, it would repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which protects diversity and ensures equal opportunity in education. This would leave students with disabilities, special needs, students from poor families, and students of color at risk without protection.
HR 785: National Right to Work
This bill aims to lessen the power of labor unions by prohibiting employers from requiring union participation to be hired or keep jobs. Ultimately, this could lead to lower wages, removal of safety regulations and fair practices, and greater unemployment rates nationwide.
HR 861: Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
This bill is only one sentence long: "The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018." No mention of what will happen to all of the regulations it has enacted since 1970.
HR 899: Terminate the Department of Education
This bill aims to eradicate the Department of Education by the end of 2018. Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has stated that she would be happy to be "worked out of a job." In a similar vein to HR 861, no mention of where federal grant money, budget money, or Department of Education staff salaries will end up.
HR 1203: Amend the Public Service Act to Prohibit Research With Human Fetal Tissue
This bill would prohibit research utilizing human fetal tissue obtained through abortion. Critics say it does not take into account miscarriages resulting in the abortion of the fetus, and it is likely another attempt to stop abortions and derail scientific research.
HR 1301: $578 Billion Defense Budget for 2017 Fiscal Year
This bill authorizes $557.9 billion in defense spending for 2017, which is a total $5.2 billion more than what was granted in 2016 and $1.6 billion more than what was asked for by the Obama Administration.
HJ Res 38: Disapproving the Rule Submitted by the Department of Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule
This resolution gets rid of the Stream Protection Rule, which regulates the impact of pollution from surface coal mining on surface water and groundwater.
HJ Res 40: Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Rule Submitted by SSA Relating to Implementation of NICS Improvements Act of 2007
This bill repeals the rule that prohibits firearm sale or transfer to and purchase or possession by individuals with mental illnesses. Instead, the individual only has to meet certain criteria to purchase. The bill has been applauded by the NRA.
HJ Res 69: Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife in Alaska
This bill aims to get rid of rules stating that certain wildlife species cannot be killed for sport. Species placed on this list are often endangered, and repealing this rule would allow for hunters to kill such animals.
HJ Res 83: Blocking Regulation Letting OSHA Cite Employers for Record-Keeping Violations in the Last Five Years
This resolution would overturn Department of Labor regulation that allowed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to cite employers with record-keeping violations within the last five years, thus putting workers in potentially risky situations as the employer may get away with not recording the injury and unsafe working environment.
HC Res 23: Providing for a Joint Session of Congress to Receive a Message from the President
This resolution is one line long, "That the two Houses of Congress assemble in the Hall of the House of Representatives...for the purpose of receiving such communication as the President of the United States shall be pleased to make to them." This changes the normalcy of how the President addresses Congress: instead of Congress inviting the President to the People's House, the President imposes control over Congress over when to hear him speak.