U.S. President Donald Trump signed his first executive order on Friday, heading into the Oval Office shortly after his inaugural parade to direct agencies to ease regulations associated with Obamacare, the signature health-care law of his predecessor that Trump has vowed to replace.
The order notes that Trump intends to seek the "prompt repeal" of the law and it directs federal agencies not to issue regulations that would expand the law's reach.
But in the meantime, it allows the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies to delay implementing any piece of the law that might impose a "fiscal burden" on states, health-care providers, families or individuals.
Health-care experts said the order signalled the Trump administration's interest in unwinding the law as much as possible through administrative means. But they cautioned it could take weeks or months to discern the full impact of Trump's opening day action.
Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was a central pledge for Trump during the presidential election campaign, although Republicans in the U.S. Congress have not yet laid out a plan to replace the insurance program.
In a hastily arranged signing ceremony, with some of his top aides around him, Trump sat behind the presidential Resolute Desk, signing the order.
He signed commissions for his newly confirmed Defence Secretary James Mattis and his Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Trump also signed a proclamation declaring a national day of patriotism, according to a tweet from White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
Trump spoke briefly about his day with reporters.
"It was busy, but good. It was a beautiful day," Trump said.
New president, new WhiteHouse.gov
Moments after Trump's inauguration, the White House website on Friday posted a series of statements outlining the new administration's policy positions on everything from energy and foreign policy to economic growth and the military.
With the website scrubbed of its old content, many people were alarmed about a sudden absence of terms like "LGBT" and "climate change," but as the White House explained in an announcement earlier this week, all the content from the Obama administration has been archived, and the new administration has not finished populating the site with its own.
Defeating "radical Islamic terror groups," including the ISIS, is the administration's top foreign policy goal, according to the statement.
The new administration said it "will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary," work to
cut off funding for terrorist groups, expand intelligence sharing and use "cyberwarfare" to disrupt propaganda and
The statement offered no indication of how Trump's policies might differ from those of his predecessor, Barack Obama.
It also appeared to hint at better relations with Russia — something that Trump has said he would pursue.
"We are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies," the statement said.
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Trump's energy policy is aimed at boosting domestic energy production and reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil primarily by lifting "restrictions" and tapping into the U.S.'s vast energy reserves.
"We've been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry," the posted plan says, naming the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule, which defines which water and wetland resources are protected, as two "harmful and unnecessary policies" the president is committed to eliminating.
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Trump has also promised to ask TransCanada Corp. to resubmit its application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would pump Canadian oilsands crude into the U.S. — a project rejected by the Obama administration.
The White House repeated Trump's campaign vow to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asian free-trade pact that Obama championed but was unable to get through Congress.
It also reiterated his dissatisfaction with the North American Free Trade Agreement in its current form and would not rule out a total withdrawal.
"If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the president will give notice of the United States' intent to withdraw from NAFTA," the statement said.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday that two executive orders on trade would be coming soon.
Economic growth, jobs
The new administration said it plans to create 25 million new jobs in the next decade, based largely on tax reform and further deregulation.
"The president has proposed a moratorium on new federal regulations and is ordering the heads of federal agencies and departments to identify job-killing regulations that should be repealed," the policy statement on jobs said.
Trump's various statements about balancing the budget and accelerating economic growth have repeatedly been called into question. Days before the election, a group of 370 economists, including eight Nobel laureates, published an open letter saying he has misled voters on these issues and calling him "a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country."
The Trump administration condemned what it called the "dangerous anti-police atmosphere" in the U.S. and repeated its support of the Second Amendment, which grants Americans the right to keep and bear arms.
"Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement and more effective policing," said the statement.
And that includes "supporting our citizens' ability to protect themselves. We will uphold Americans' Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system."
The statement said Trump was still committed to building a border wall to stop illegal immigration, as well as to stopping "the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities."
The Trump administration pledged to pursue the "highest level of military readiness" and increase cybersecurity capabilities. It also intends to develop a "state-of-the-art missile defence system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea," though it does not outline details of how such ambitious projects will be paid for.
There will also be better support for veterans, the statement said.