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Trump Yet To Sign A Major Law As President

| by Robert Fowler
President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump

While President Donald Trump touts the number of bills he has signed into law, an NPR analysis indicates that none of the 40 pieces of legislation he has signed will have a major impact, and only the latest one delivers on a key campaign promise.

On June 23, Trump took to Twitter to cite the pieces of legislation that he has signed.

"I've helped pass and signed 38 Legislative Bills, mostly with no Democratic support, and gotten rid of massive amounts of regulations," Trump tweeted on June 23. "Nice!"

The president lowballed the number of bills he had signed -- the total amount was actually 39. Trump has frequently asserted that he is among the most productive presidents in U.S. history.

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On June 12, Trump stated that only former President Franklin D. Roosevelt had accomplished more than he had so early in his presidency.

"I will say that never has there been a president -- with few exceptions; in the case of [Franklin D. Roosevelt], he had a major depression to handle -- who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than what we've done," Trump said during a meeting with his Cabinet.

On June 13, Trump stated during a lunch, "I think probably seldom has any president and administration done more or had more success so early on, including a record number of resolutions to eliminate job-killing regulations."

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An analysis conducted by NPR found that Trump was incorrect both numerically and substantively. As of June 23, former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had all signed more pieces pieces of legislation during the same timeframe in their first terms. Further, Trump had yet to sign legislation that would have a noticeable impact on Americans' lives.

The analysis found that 15 of 40 bills Trump had signed so far repealed rules and regulations implemented during the final days of former President Barack Obama's administration. Those bills were enacted under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to revoke regulations that were enacted within the last 60 legislative days of their submission. The time for Congress to rescind any more Obama administration rules has since expired.

Six of the bills Trump has signed modified existing programs, five only symbolically called on federal agencies to try something new, five designated a name to a site or called on flying the American flag, five related to federal personnel and two extended policies enacted during the Obama administration. One related to the omnibus appropriations bill, merely keeping the government funded while Congress negotiated a spending bill, and the very last bill was a new policy.

That new policy was the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which would make it easier for secretary of veterans affairs to dismiss employees. Trump signed the bill on June 23, marking the first time he passed legislation fulfilling a campaign promise.

Trump is not without some historical accomplishments. On April 25, White House press secretary Sean Spicer asserted that Trump "worked with Congress to pass more legislation in his first 100 days than any president since Truman, and these bills deliver on some of his most significant promises to the American people."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact rated Spicer's comment mostly true, finding that Trump had indeed signed more bills during his first 100 days than any president since former President Harry S. Truman, but also noting that none of those bills "are major pieces of legislation, so it doesn't indicate that Trump has been particularly skilled at getting his agenda through Congress so far."

While Trump has signed an impressive number of bills since assuming office, he has also been focused on giving off the appearance of productivity. On June 5, the president signed two documents related to his plans to privatize the Air Traffic Control System that were not actual bills, meaning they had no discernible impact or purpose, TIME reports.

Sources: NPR, PolitiFact, TIME / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, The White House via Shealah Craighead/Wikimedia CommonsDonald J. Trump/Twitter

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