In a quiet part of downtown Austin, about 20 miles west of the Texas capital, President Donald Trump’s team has set up shop in an office building.
Inside, the US president and his team are working on plans to roll back Obama-era health and environmental regulations that he has threatened to reverse.
In a white conference room on the third floor, a team of nearly a dozen staffers has set about making the most basic decisions about how to meet a president’s mandate for spending cuts.
Trump’s advisers have been quietly working on a series of measures to rollback many of the key provisions of his signature healthcare law, which has drawn criticism for being overly expensive and having a large number of coverage gaps.
The measures include eliminating some of the president’s most popular protections for the elderly and the disabled, while cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
They include scaling back Medicaid, which provides healthcare to more than 30 million people, and the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion programme, which helps low-income families afford coverage.
The president’s administration has also been mulling an ambitious plan to slash corporate taxes, which have been widely criticised for being too high and benefiting wealthy corporations.
The White House’s budget proposal, unveiled on Wednesday, does not include any of these changes, but the Trump administration’s strategy could still prove critical to his legislative agenda.
Some of the proposals are already in motion, and others could be on the table as early as the new year.
Trump’s administration plans to cut billions of dollars from Medicaid, an entitlement program for the poor and disabled, and from food stamps, the food stamp programme for people with low incomes.
Other cuts are planned.
The Trump administration has proposed slashing federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is responsible for covering nearly 2 million children, a huge expansion of access to healthcare.
It also plans to slash $30bn from the Environmental Protection Agency and $20bn from Nasa.
Meanwhile, Trump has announced a plan to dramatically reduce funding for environmental protection, including slashing federal funds for the Environmental Restoration Act.
“The Environmental Protection Act is a law that’s been in place for decades that gives states a tremendous amount of flexibility in the way they deal with their air and water, and they’ve taken it out,” said Scott Sargent, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
“They’ve been a huge part of the environmental protection agenda since the 1970s.”
Trump has also pledged to dismantle many of Obama-appointed rules, including the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which governs environmental protection.
Trump’s executive order signed on Wednesday sets out a “complete and immediate” dismantling of EISs, which are used to help Congress decide whether to approve a project.
He has also called for an end to a requirement for the states to develop plans for environmental damage, as well as for a review of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which helps states set rules for building, operating and maintaining hazardous waste sites.
Critics have accused the administration of deliberately leaving many of these regulations in place.
One of the main ways that Trump has managed to do so is by appointing a handful of officials to oversee the EPA, which handles the environmental regulation of the US, including in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions and water quality.
These officials are responsible for implementing regulations on the environment and are tasked with working closely with state and local governments to ensure they are being enforced.
Under Trump, there are now over 5,000 people in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, which manages air and radiation.
In 2017, the office issued more than 20 million public comments on its regulations, including some of which are now being implemented.
The administration also announced plans to reverse a number of regulations issued by the agency, such as a regulation that required the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in power plants, which was set to take effect in 2019.
Another of Trump’s regulatory plans involves scrapping a requirement that states use the Environmental Working Group’s list of ozone pollutants to decide whether they want to use ozone-blocking chemicals.
The EWG is an international organisation that studies the effects of pollution on human health.
Last month, the Trump White House proposed rolling back a number other environmental regulations.
In April, the administration announced a number measures that would reduce funding from the US Agency for International Development, a program that helps states develop environmental policies.
The plan also called on the US State Department to halt the hiring of overseas contractors and halt the US government’s participation in international climate change agreements.
While Trump has not been a particularly friendly president to climate change, he has vowed to keep up the pressure on the international community to cut carbon emissions.
In December, Trump signed an executive order directing his administration to withdraw from the Paris climate change