When President Trump boasted “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever,” the mainstream media piled on immediately, showing that Trump had signed the least number of bills into law of any president since Truman.
True, some bills signings were merely ceremonial, as presidents regularly sign bills that name federal buildings and other pomp and circumstance. A superficial analysis might even conclude that signing less than 100 “actual” bills into law in a given year is a sign of impassable Congressional gridlock or, worse, a stalled presidential agenda.
However, a deeper analysis reveals a theme to the first year of the Trump presidency of less government, and better government.
And that should be music to conservative ears.
But, wait. Conservatives are always complaining that Washington politicians aren’t “doing their job” that they were elected to do. Isn’t their job to pass laws?
Not necessarily. Simply passing a law for the sake of doing so is more like plate spinning than governing: it looks good for a short while and may satiate the immediate needs of voters back home, but it accomplishes little or nothing. If you subscribe to the belief that government is bloated, overly burdensome, and far too intrusive into our everyday lives, as conservatives do, then the job of elected representatives, and indeed the president, would be to alleviate those burdens through thoughtful governance. That means repealing some laws, not passing more.
Whether you believe it occurred by design (as supporters of the president would) or it’s simply dumb luck (as so-called “Never Trumper” conservatives may think) the first year of the Trump presidency started to do just that.
Consider, many bill signings by President Trump diminished government. President Trump signed many “disapproval” bills that reversed Obama-era rules conservatives loathed, including removal of rules that blocked states from withholding federal funding to facilities performing abortions like Planned Parenthood. A victory for federalism.
Trump also enacted bills that didn’t catch the glitzy headlines, but created new “good government” policies, like providing the VA the ability to fire incompetent employees, and expanding protection for whistleblowers throughout government, or the “Forever GI Bill” which made it easier for veterans to find institutes of learning that give them priority in enrollment.
Not to mention the full overhaul of the federal tax system and repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate that you might have heard about in the news at the end of the year.
When these few enacted bills are considered along with Trump’s executive actions like repealing President Obama’s DACA executive order that restoring Congress’s power to legislate immigration and naturalization concerns, and the regulatory savings that saw the repeal of 22 federal regulations for every new one promulgated, which jolted American enterprise into greater productivity, the theme of a “shrinking” government becomes more apparent.
In the end, Trump’s “less” may actually mean more than what past presidents have accomplished in their first year in office.
Gene Berardelli is a street-smart trial attorney who, through his time as the Law Chair of the Republican Party in Brooklyn, New York, has developed a solid reputation as an election attorney successfully representing conservative candidates.
Russell Gallo is a security expert and combat veteran who attained the rank of First Sergeant in the New York Army National Guard, earning a Combat Action Badge in Iraq. Together, they host Behind Enemy Lines Radio, a national award-winning radio show and podcast broadcasting out of "The People's Republic of" New York that airs weekly on AM and FM radio stations as part of the Talk America Radio network. To read more of their reports — Click Here Now.
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