President-elect Donald Trump said, “We will be signing some papers that will be very meaningful tomorrow right after the speech to get the show going.” He told his supporters this the day before his inauguration, according to CNN. And now that he’s President Trump, he has kept his promise. In his first 12 hours as president of the United States, Trump signed a whole ream of executive orders. Most of them are procedural, involving his cabinet picks, but a couple have powerful implications for American citizens. One of these executive orders begins Trump’s rollback of the Affordable Care Act, and another suspends a rate discount on Federal Housing Authority-backed mortgages.
Let’s first look at Trump’s policy-oriented executive orders. In a move that will likely affect Americans all over the country, the president signed an executive order that suspends the rate discount on FHA-backed mortgages. These mortgages, popular with low-income homebuyers, were subject to a pending discount. “If the planned reductions went into effect,” reports Andrew Khouri for the LA Times, “borrowers who put down less than 5% on a $600,000, 30-year mortgage would have saved $1,500 a year.” The suspension on the rate discount is indefinite at this time.
Trump’s next executive order gets the ball rolling on the president’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which provides health insurance for 20 million Americans. The order authorizes the secretary of health and human services to apply the loosest possible interpretation to the healthcare law. It allows authorities to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State.” Even though the ACA is still law, this executive order begins to weaken it, setting the stage for its repeal.
The last five of these executive orders are pretty straightforward. One waives the requirement that the Secretary of Defense must be at least seven years out of active military service. This allows James Mattis, who retired from the Marine Corps in 2013, to serve as Trump’s secretary of Defense. Three executive orders officially nominated Mattis as Defense secretary, Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, and John Kelly as the Department of Homeland Security Secretary. The fifth one establishes a National Day of Patriotism. It’s not clear when this day will be, and it’s really not that remarkable. Bush and Obama made similar proclamations.
More executive orders are sure to follow on Monday and Tuesday. Check back with Inverse for our coverage as events unfold.