President Donald Trump signed executive orders implementing a hiring freeze across the U.S. government, except for national security, and renewing an intermittent federal policy that forbids international nonprofits receiving federal money from providing abortion services.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that federal agencies would not be allowed to fill vacancies or hire new employees except for positions related to "national security."
The federal government workforce was already shrinking as a share of overall U.S. employment before Trump's announcement.
Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule, which was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It prohibits giving U.S. funding to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion ― even if U.S. dollars are not specifically used for abortion-related services.
The United States spends about $600 million a year on international assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs, making it possible for 27 million women and couples to access contraceptive services and supplies.
None of that money is spent on performing abortions. The Helms amendment has prevented U.S. tax dollars from funding overseas abortions since 1973.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer stood by his claim that Donald Trump enjoyed the largest inauguration audience in history, citing people watching online, and pledged that he would not lie to reporters after a weekend of confrontations with the media.
"I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts," Spicer said on Monday at his first formal news briefing since Trump's inauguration on Friday. "Our intention is never to lie to you. You're in the same boat.
"I'm going to come out here and tell you the facts as I know them and when I make a mistake I'm going to correct it," Spicer said.
DeVos refused to promise that she would not privatize or strip funding from the public schools she would oversee if confirmed.
Asked bluntly by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington whether she would commit to keeping funding for public schools intact, DeVos dodged the question.
"I look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students," she said. "We acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them, and I'm hopeful that we can work together to find common ground and ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them."
"I take that as not be willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education," Murray replied.
"I guess I wouldn't characterize it in that way," DeVos said. read more
CEOs Rush to Avoid Trump's Wrath With Stops at the Gilded Tower
by Carol Matlack
January 17, 2017, 9:08 AM CST
Companies are visiting with an eye toward heading off trouble
"Arnault meeting Trump was a masterpiece of diplomacy"
Marillyn Hewson, chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, arrives at Trump Tower, Jan. 13, in New York City. Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Emerging from the gilded doors of an elevator in Trump Tower on Jan. 13, Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson said she'd just promised President-elect Donald Trump to hire 1,800 workers in Texas. Four days earlier, Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba stood in the marble-clad lobby to announce an expansion of his company's U.S. business. That same day, French luxury mogul Bernard Arnault was there to tell Trump that his LVMH group might step up U.S. manufacturing.
Why the CEO parade? read more