Unlike past administrations, Trump and his staff are pushing through major policy changes that could make life harder for President-elect Biden.
In addition to making up claims about a “rigged” election, President Donald Trump and his staff are spending the waning days of his administration trying to jam through significant changes that could have a lasting effect throughout the Biden administration.
Although Trump himself cannot stay in office beyond Jan. 20, a tangled mess of his policies certainly could. His administration has embarked upon an accelerated effort to push new staffing assignments, domestic policy gains, and create new sanctions against U.S adversaries.
In one example, Trump is working to implement a new personnel category for civil servants in policymaking that would strip them of many of their job protections. The work is based on an executive order Trump signed soon before the election in November. The new order would make tens of thousands of mid- and high-level employees vulnerable to firing due to perceived poor performance or disloyalty to the administration.
Here’s a look at the other policies the Trump administration is working to push through.
Auction Drilling Rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The administration is looking to sell portions of the Arctic refuge for oil drilling on Jan. 6, despite Democrats’ long objections to that move. Trump is also moving to roll back protections for sage grouse across 51 million acres in the west. Sage grouse are important because they show when habitats are healthy which is crucial for big game like elk, deer, and pronghorn. Big game and hunters brings in a lot of money for Alaska and conservation efforts.
Trump has also proposed a rule to weaken protections against drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Implement a New and More Difficult Citizenship Test
The administration has championed a more difficult citizenship test for immigrants looking to become U.S citizens. Critics of the move argue that a more difficult test could decrease the number of legal immigrants and increase illegal immigration into the United States.
Implement New Rules to Limit Drug Prices
During a White House ceremony about a month ago, Trump announced efforts by the Health and Human Services Department to lower prescription drug prices. Trump, however, spent most of his time accusing drug makers of running negative ads against him and claimed they waited to announce positive vaccine trial data until after the election. In the past, Trump has issued executive orders to lower prescription drug prices, but so far no real change has been noted.
Create an Additional 50 Miles of Wall Barriers Along U.S-Mexico Border
During his four years in office Trump has not had much success on his perhaps most famous campaign promise of 2016, to build an impenetrable wall between the U.S and Mexico. Now in his last days in office, the Department of Homeland Security is scrambling to complete an additional 50 miles of wall barriers along the southern border.
Implement Additional Sanctions on China and Iran
Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both said they will continue to implement sanctions against Iran and implement new sanctions against China. The president has made some controversial diplomatic moves in Iran, like pulling the country out of the Iran Nuclear deal, which aimed to prevent the nation from developing nuclear warheads. Biden, in contrast, supported the deal. And Trump’s trade war with China harmed US farmers early on in his term, and additional sanctions could lead to similar unintended consequences.
Confirm More Conservative Appointees to Federal Courts
Senate Republicans could be the minority party depending on runoff elections in Georgia in January. To prevent total loss of control Senate Republicans are moving quickly to confirm conservative appointees to federal courts which will extend well into Biden’s presidency. During his time in office Trump has already appointed nearly 200 conservative federal judges who can serve for the rest of their lives.
Cut US Troop Levels in Iraq
In an effort to make good on campaign promises, the administration is working to cut U.S troop numbers in Iraq by 500 service members. Removing 500 troops would bring the total number of servicemembers in the country to 2,500. Former senior military officials have voiced concern over the move given the transition of presidential power in the United States and the toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
Remove US Troops in Somalia to Move Them to East Africa
The administration also recently announced an effort to remove about 700 troops from Somalia to place them in East Africa instead. This would remove most US troops from the area and some experts say it could have an adverse effect on efforts to combat terrorism.