Whistleblower Protection at Veterans Affairs

I can certainly support what this order purports to be – improved accountability and increased protection for whistlblowers. In fact, this ought to be important for all of government.

This executive order creates a new office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Whether or not it makes any difference, remains to be seen. It is unlikely we will know for years if this was useful.

My current skepticism leads me to believe it will not have much impact.

Actually, the timing of this signing leads me to believe it is just part of the flurry of activity trying to create an impression that much is being accomplished in the “first hundred days”.

Sad to say, issuing executive orders and memoranda are not results in the usual sense of the word.

Anyone else catch the irony in this order? Does this administration really want to empower whistleblowers when they are so intent on finding and prosecuting the “leakers”?

Official Title: Presidential Executive Order on Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Executive Order dated April 27, 2017

Aluminum Trade

The subject of this memorandum, “Aluminum Imports and Threats to National Security”, seems more than a little overblown rhetoric. I find it difficult to believe our national security is at risk because of an oversupply of aluminum, steel, etc. And, since when did the Republican establishment not believe in the law of supply and demand? Apparently the “artificially low prices caused by excess capacity…” means something is wrong. I think what is “wrong” is American businesses are not very competitive and it is having an impact on profits.

This memorandum orders analysis of the situation by the Secretary of Commerce. Who knows if it will produce anything of consequence.

Official Title: Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce

Memorandum dated April 27, 2017

Education Review

More review of policies. This time the Department of Education.

Under the guise of support for “local control” this order requires a review of all policies, guidelines, etc. related to any education laws. With Betsy DeVos in charge of this review, we can expect significant harm to come as a result.

Official Title: Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Statutory Prohibitions on Federal Control of Education

Executive Order dated April 26, 2017

Antiquities Act Review

I’ve been expecting to see this one because of media coverage of the pending order. Business wins again, this time at the expense of National Monuments.

The Antiquities Act dates back to 1906 signed by Theodore Roosevelt and allows for establishment of national parks and monuments.

This executive order calls for the Secretary of Interior to review all designations since January 1, 1996 “…where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres, where the designation after expansion covers more than 100,000 acres, or where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders…” claiming a need to give “energy independence” a more prominent position in designation of sites set aside for monuments or parks.

Within 120 days of the order a report is due to the president, but one designation in particular must be reviewed and reported on within 45 days – Proclamation 9558 of December 28, 2016 (Establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument).

I do not think it is difficult to predict the ultimate result – undesignation of the most recently established site noted above, at a minimum.

Official Title: Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act

Executive Order dated April 26, 2017

Agriculture and Rural Prosperity

This order revokes Executive Order 13575 of June 9, 2011 (Establishment of the White House Rural Council) and replaces the council with the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. It is essentially yet another order to study and recommend policy and legislation changes, this time with regard to agriculture and rural America. It calls for a report in 180 days.

We shall see if it has any effect on policy, regulations, or legislation.

Official Title: Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America

Executive Order dated April 25, 2017

Changing Economic Regulation

Three actions taken last Friday are about issues related economic regulation. Two specifically identify the Dodd-Frank Act and the other is on tax regulations.

Nothing terribly surprising in these efforts to “fix” the economy. They are consistent with promises and previous actions to improve the lot of the wealthy.

Official Titles:

All dated April 21, 2017