FACT CHECK: Has Trump Had More ‘Legislative Approvals’ Than Any Other President?

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

President Donald Trump said he’s had more “legislative approvals” than any other president while signing the tax reform bill Friday.

“Legislative approvals, for which I’m given no credit in the mainstream media – we have, I believe, it’s 88, which is number one in the history of our country. Second now is Harry Truman. Harry Truman had more legislative approvals than any other president and – a record long held. And we beat him on legislative approvals, for which I get no credit,” said Trump.

Verdict: False

Trump has signed fewer bills at this point in his presidency than any president dating back to President Dwight Eisenhower.

Fact Check:

It’s not completely clear what Trump means by “legislative approvals,” but experts assume he means the number of bills signed into law since he’s made similar statements in the past.

The President cited “legislative victories” like military spending increases and reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enacted earlier this year.

He’s signed 96 bills into law since his presidency began, including tax reform and the continuing resolution signed Friday. That’s the lowest number of bills enacted by any president since Eisenhower and fewer than President Harry Truman, according to Josh Tauberer of GovTrack.

“Truman signed more laws in 100 days than Trump has so far,” Tauberer told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

Tauberer said Trump seems to be misremembering his own claim. At the end of his first 100 days, Trump did outpace every president since Truman in number of bills signed, with 29 bills. But he never surpassed Truman and quickly fell into last place.

President George W. Bush had the second fewest bills signed into law at this point in his presidency with 102 bills, and President Ronald Reagan had the third fewest with 108 bills. Eisenhower had the most, at 514.

Some bills have had more substance than others. Ten of the bills Trump signed this year named post offices, placed citizens on boards and designated memorials, for instance.

By number of pages of legislation signed into law, Trump is in fourth place, according to GovTrack. Trump enacted 2,038 pages as of Dec. 21, compared to President Barack Obama’s 3,473 pages, President Bill Clinton’s 2,556 pages and President George H.W. Bush’s 2,518.

Trump had major achievements this year outside of enacting legislation. Neil Gorsuch was nominated, confirmed and sworn into the Supreme Court before Trump’s 100-day mark. He has appointed more appellate judges than any other president at this point, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.

Tauberer noted that the number of bills or pages of legislation enacted isn’t the best measure of effective lawmaking, particularly because Trump’s supporters want to reign in regulations. One-page bills that repeal regulations, for example, can have a large impact.

“What everyone wants to know is whether the bills are good, and that’s something you can’t count,” Tauberer said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter