HARRINGTON: Trump Administration shows alarming patterns in policy change


Photo by Flickr.com

U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference.

Last Thursday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced her intentions to roll back developments regarding Title IX, a 1972 federal law relating to sexual assault and discrimination policy for colleges that receive state funding.

This is one of several Obama-era policies that the Trump administration has placed in its cross-hairs. The administration is demonstrating a pattern of announcing the elimination, repeal or rolling back of programs and policy changes without concrete replacements on deck. This method of gutting programs, without a clear plan to proceed, is going to do more damage to the American public than good and is an alarming indicator of how policy will be implemented over the next three and a half years.

The most obvious policy at risk of being overturned is the Affordable Care Act. The ACA, or “Obamacare,” has been a major focus of Trump’s since his early campaign days. However, with a Republican-controlled House and Senate and a generally unified Republican party calling to “repeal and replace,” the bill was not completely overturned. This is something of a hollow victory, as the intention to repeal the ACA is still a prominent but hotly debated issue in Republican policy. The repeal of Obamacare, whether you agree with the bill or not, is alarming in that the Republican party itself is undecided about what the new healthcare bill should be. This indecisiveness, paired with the Trump administration’s desire to fulfill campaign promises, could potentially lead to millions of Americans losing coverage. This reactionary mentality toward a prior administration’s policies is not uncommon, but the rate at which this pendulum is swinging will have disastrous effects on the general public.

Another recent example of this behavior was the announcement of the ban on transgender military service. While not originally a campaign promise of Trump’s, the ban was announced via the president’s Twitter account. This was an unforeseen move and left military officials and media representatives scrambling for more information. Again, no clear plans were in place for the implementation of the ban, and there seemed to be little foresight in the actual announcement. The uproar the ban caused and the manner in which it was unveiled led to immense backlash and showed a clear disconnect between the legislative and executive branches of the government.

The recent announcement of the plan to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, a policy implemented in 2012 designed to protect the rights of the children of immigrants and make the process of naturalization easier for the children, is the most frightening of all these policy changes. While DACA was designed as a stop-gap and was not foreseen as a permanent solution to the issue of immigration in the United States, the Trump administration’s lack of foresight is horrifying. It is not the typical Republican/Democrat policy shifting, which is to be expected in the early months of a party change in the Oval Office, but rather evokes the Looney Tunes “Duck Season/Rabbit Season” episode.

This administration is not reforming or altering policies made under President Obama; they’re undoing progress. During home renovations, the entire building isn’t torn down. This administration is setting a terrifying precedent of ‘one step forward and three steps back’ in regards to the policies that it seeks to enact. If this trend continues for the next three and a half years and into the next presidency, whether it is a Republican or Democrat in the White House, we could be looking at the end of legitimate reform and policy change in Washington.